Dominion’s End Volume 3: Ice-Bound Splendor and Majesty
Original novel in Chinese by: 御我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 9: Truth, Part Two—translated by Michimochi (proofread by Arcedemius; C/E edited by lucathia)
Another burst of gunshots followed closely after, making me stumble. Finally, unable to hold myself up any longer, I toppled to the ground. My chest hurt so much that I was unable to breathe, and my leg throbbed in pain.
Thirteen lay to the side, like he had gotten shot as well. Just a moment ago, we were enemies. Now, we were fellow sufferers. He looked at me, shocked.
Dying next to a king of aberrants seemed pretty worth it. It’s just that I really wanted to return to Dàgē and Junjun’s side. There is little Dàgē here, but… but they really aren’t the same…
“Shuyu!” Jiang Xiaotian’s voice sounded terribly, awfully pained…
I snapped out of my reverie and raised my head. In front of me stood a girl, a very pretty one—Of course, she can’t at all compare to my family’s Junjun.
What’s her name again… Ah right, Miao Xiangling.
“Do you need something?”
“Um…” Miao Xiangling blushed, then took a deep breath and continued, “You previously mentioned that you would consider going out with me after the exams. Did you mean it?”
I couldn’t help but chuckle. Usually, girls would take that as a rejection, but I really had meant it. Preparing for exams while dating would have been so tiring. Why go through so much trouble?
“I meant it. Are you free this weekend? Wanna eat lunch and watch a movie together? Let’s meet at the lobby of Movie City. How does that sound?”
I promptly invited her first. Otherwise, always letting the girls invite me out is so not okay. Since we’re giving it a try first, it’s not like we need to immediately start dating.
“Perfect!” Miao Xiangling said as if a weight off her chest had been lifted, but she still said in worry, “Then, I’ll see you there!”
I nodded. “See you there.”
With the words still echoing in my ears, I realized I probably couldn’t keep that promise.
There had never been a problem walking this way to Movie City, where I had often brought Junjun. But, this time was different. As I was walking along, a blast of pain suddenly hit my head. The pain passed, and my consciousness soon faded with it.
Before sinking into complete darkness, scenes flashed before my eyes one after another. It was a split second, but it felt super long, as if I had experienced a lifetime.
Beginning from a babbling age, to starting junior high, then high school, and finally studying at college.
Getting a job and a boyfriend, working hard to be able to get a mortgage and buy a house—all of that completely dissolved into sea foam within the Black Fog.
The apocalypse suddenly descended. There were scary monsters everywhere, yet they were nothing in the face of the bitterness of a mother’s passing and a boyfriend’s betrayal. In the end, my heart was torn into pieces, like ashes in the wind…
I opened my eyes. Flakes of snow and ice crystals appeared in front of me. There was nothing more beautiful than this that could be imagined. For a moment, I didn’t know where I was. Has everything finally ended? Is this heaven?
“Shuyu?” A dashing, domineering face appeared in front of my eyes. It couldn’t be any more familiar. His expression transformed from grief to ecstasy, and he rushed closer. He wanted to examine me everywhere, yet he didn’t dare to touch me anywhere.
Wait a sec, his hair is longer than his shoulders, and it’s totally white. This is the Ice Emperor. Right then, my heart brimmed with guilt. The Ice Emperor’s worries and concern should never be wasted on me. It was simply wrong from the start. Ice Emperor, you got this all wrong. You, you’re not my dàgē!
The Ice Emperor caressed my cheek with concern and asked, “Shuyu, are you okay?”
I shook my head minutely.
I couldn’t say it. For the sake of his younger siblings, the Ice Emperor had leapt through time and space. How could I tell him this cruel reality? I can’t ever do it! Plus, at least there’s still Shujun. She’s his true little sis!
“Do you feel like vomiting?” The Ice Emperor reached out, like he wanted to support me but didn’t dare to, and accompanied with that imposing look… Fine, actually, it currently wasn’t all that imposing. Any man who wore ragged, skinny shorts would have his imposing demeanor damaged, no matter how imposing he was.
“No.” I thought it was weird, too. I had obviously gotten shot in the chest. Even if I didn’t die, it shouldn’t be like this; I was just in pain. I reached out my hands to touch my chest, yet I couldn’t feel it. Instead, I felt a hard layer of armor. It was just that compared with the complete outline of a chest it had before, it was now in pieces.
“It’s Jiang Xiaorong. He helped me block the bullets.” I smiled helplessly. Who knew. The “bulletproof vest” thing had just been an excuse, yet it had actually served as a bulletproof vest. If it weren’t for this little tree, I would probably be dead. But, is Jiang Xiaorong still alive?
Since I now knew my injuries were not that serious, I struggled to sit up. But the moment I did so, I was stupefied. I was actually in a snowy field. Whiteness spread as far as the eye could see. W-What’s up with this? How did I jump straight from an autumn day to a snowy one?
Suddenly remembering something, my expression distorted. I twisted my head and glared at the Ice Emperor, yelling with a burst of anger, “What the hell did you do? I told you not to use your ability. You still acted recklessly. No wonder your hair is all white! It wasn’t like this the last time I saw you…”
I immediately fell silent. I had spoken so agitatedly that the injury on my chest tore. I was in so much pain that I couldn’t even say a single word. Although Jiang Xiaorong had shielded me, he wasn’t sturdy enough. Therefore, I had still suffered a heavy blow. When I hurt so much that I began curling in pain, I suddenly felt a wiggle of a twig from my chest.
Jiang Xiaorong, good boy! Live well, and I guarantee you plenty of crystals to eat from now on!
At this moment, a gust of icy cold wind rushed over. Instantly, my chest felt a lot better, but it wasn’t healed. The coldness had numbed the pain. It’s so not worth it!
I glared at the disobedient Ice Emperor and grit my teeth against the pain. “Don’t randomly use your ability, you…”
Yet, the Ice Emperor covered my mouth and shook his head as he said, “Don’t talk. Just listen to what I have to say, Shuyu. I don’t have any more time.”
No more time? I was stunned. My eyes just so happened to fall on his pale white hair. Soon after came a cracking sound from the area above my lips. It was his finger…
Voice hoarse, I said, “Dàgē, you haven’t seen Shujun yet. It’s been ten years. Don’t you miss her?”
I could only hope the incentive of his mèimei was enough to make the Ice Emperor want to live no matter what. He is this powerful. There must be a way! Even if he lost all his ability, it doesn’t matter. We would all protect him!
The Ice Emperor laughed out loud and said, “After traveling with you, it’s taken a load off of my mind knowing you are here. Home over here will rely on you to protect it. The Jiang Shutian in this world definitely can’t be stronger than you. No, even if it were me at this time, I might not be stronger than you.”
I snapped, “Me wanting to become stronger was not to take a load off of your mind, but for our family to continue to survive together. You don’t understand at all!”
“Your family will definitely live on together.”
What does that mean? It’s true that there are two Dàgēs now, and the Ice Emperor, indeed, isn’t my dàgē, b-but…
“My family is no longer alive.”
Hearing this, I could feel anger bubbling up, and I roared, “Am I not…”
Yet, the Ice Emperor interrupted me and inquired instead, “Shuyu, this isn’t the same world, right? I haven’t returned to the past at all. Rather, I arrived in a different space and time.”
Even though it was an inquiry, his tone was filled with certainty. Listening to this, my face darkened. As I had thought, he had long figured it out and had even kept quiet about it. Don’t tell me was he searching for a chance to sacrifice himself? You bastard…
There was another cracking sound. I shot a look toward the source of the sound, horrified to the point that my face paled.
A crack had appeared on the Ice Emperor’s hand, from the tip of his pinky all the way to his arm. It was like a piece of ice cracking, and some shards were even dropping. I didn’t dare to look at the chipped areas.
“Shuyu, I really don’t have any more time. Just quietly listen to me.”
No more time. Just how long do you have left? Is it enough to start running toward Old Town?
“It was the MORC who shot you just now. Wu Yaojin led a group of people over, and some even had powers. That fucking bastard was simply a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
Wu Yaojin! Ah Nuo was right! I should have killed him from the start!
“To be able to find us within this short amount of time, he must have implanted a tracking device on you.”
When was this? I scrunched my brows and remembered that he had once hid behind me and patted my shoulders. That son of a bitch dared to use me!
“Remember, Shuyu. You need to destroy the MORC. Behind the scenes, they are even more corrupt than I thought. Those ability users were pretty much on your level. It’s simply unbelievable. If those people were trained until the later stages of the apocalypse, there would be a bunch of elites in the hands of the MORC. Some of them might even rival the top twelve elites. It’s just that they are too deeply hidden away, so the world is completely unaware of their existence. We don’t even know what they are up to either. It’s a pity that Wu Yaojin escaped. He is very suspicious. If you ever meet him again, you have to watch out.”
I don’t care about the MORC right now! Killing them will have to be put off until later anyway. They don’t fucking matter right now!
“Dàgē, is there really no other way?” I was flustered to the point of begging. “Think harder. You can transform into a kid again. You could definitely live on, right? We can protect you. Definitely! Think about Shujun. You haven’t seen her for so long. Don’t tell me you don’t want to see her?”
“Shujun… I really do want to see her. Too bad, there won’t be a chance anymore.” The Ice Emperor revealed a nostalgic expression, yet there wasn’t the least bit of hesitation in it. His mind hasn’t been changed at all. Why? If he wants to see her, then just continue to live on!
“Dàgē, no matter what, staying alive is the most important. Don’t you think so?” Toward the end, I had to clench my teeth in order to prevent my voice from cracking.
The Ice Emperor smiled and shook his head. “Shuyu, do you know what the last scene I saw was before I came here?”
I couldn’t even think of it, but he didn’t really want an answer from me.
“It was Lily. She was kneeling on the ground, crying and begging me not to believe that aberrant’s words, not to abandon her, not to abandon the rest of humanity. They needed me more than ever, but I still chose to turn my back and leave, abandoning everything.”
I opened my mouth, yet I couldn’t say a word of consolation. To someone from that world, to the Lily of that world, the Ice Emperor had indeed forsaken them. In the later period, elites were akin to gods. Their existence was of grave importance, the key to changing the tide of the battlefield. Even the loss of one was a huge loss.
“If I really did return to the past, then I would have been able to change the future. Shuyu and Shujun wouldn’t have died. Those of the mercenary troop would not have died. I could have even helped the human population. There would have been fewer hardships!
“Yet, in the end, this isn’t my world. Not only was I unable to rescue Shuyu and Shujun, I even abandoned Lily and deserted all of humanity. I deserve to die the most. Shuyu, tell me how should I live on?”
I bluntly said, “You don’t have the responsibility to save the world in the first place. Lily will understand. She knew how much you wanted to rescue your family. She wouldn’t blame you!”
“Hehe, Shuyu. No wonder you always said how important it is for family to stick together.” The Ice Emperor chuckled. “Your next step is to find your dàgē and Shujun while I will also reunite with my brother and sister.”
My heart sank. I hastily cried out, “Dàgē, I’m also your dìdi!”
The Ice Emperor scanned my face. His face was filled with a doting smile, yet he didn’t reply. Seeing this, my heart was even more anguished, and I was also a bit scared. He can’t have realized it, right?
I was Guan Weijun. I was, ever since my mother’s womb. It was just that I hadn’t remembered my previous life. After getting hit by the tile, I had forgotten the memories of this life, yet I started remembering the memories from my previous life. Now that I think about it, I don’t even know what I was so worried about!
In the end, the truth was just as Dàgē and Shujun had resolutely said. Indeed, after I was hit on the head by the tile, I remembered my past life. I was their Jiang Shuyu, who had lived with them for eighteen years. That was the absolute truth!
But to the Ice Emperor in front of my eyes, I was not his dìdi; therefore, he would constantly feel that I was not like the Shuyu in his memory because I really wasn’t!
But it doesn’t matter—there’s still Shujun! I will persistently work hard to sway him. At least, he did not spit out that it was hopeless, so there must still be a way to save him. It was just that the Ice Emperor was unwilling to live any longer. Now that I thought about it, if we hadn’t encountered this situation, he had probably planned to accompany me back to my family’s side, take a look at Shujun, then walk toward his death in the same manner.
“Dàgē, please. If Shujun knew about your situation, she would definitely be devastated. You wouldn’t want to make her cry, right?!”
Hearing this, the Ice Emperor sighed instead. “Make her cry? There’s still a mèimei that I could make cry. That’s just wonderful.”
I widened my eyes. That crack, it had already reached his neck and was crawling toward his face.
“Shuyu, finally, I want to give you a gift…”
I immediately said, “Okay, I want Dàgē to keep living!”
The Ice Emperor smiled, but that smile was split in half by the crack. In that moment, I felt that my heart had split as well.
My eyes widened, watching the person in front of my eyes crystallize into ice from the bottom of his feet. My chest started to burn until I couldn’t even breathe.
“Shuyu, help me protect the family. If you have any energy left, look after humanity. Protect this world. What I couldn’t manage, I know you can definitely do it better than I could. I can see that crystal clear. You will be stronger than I ever was!”
The Ice Emperor seized my shoulders. At this moment, the crystallization had reached his top half. The icy, cold air emitted from his two hands was so frigid that I couldn’t feel my arms, though this pain actually made me feel a bit better. At least, I was distracted from the torment that was about to break my heart.
Jiang Xiaotian, you bastard. If you had already decided to die as atonement, why on earth did you joke with me, mentor me, criticize my mistakes, and even be a role model for me to follow all this time? Do you know that I had already envisioned us four siblings living together in a beautiful, happy future? Don’t you know that I will be sad?
“Don’t cry. Men only drip blood, not tears.”
Fuck that, I’m a woman!
I cried so hard that I couldn’t even speak. The ice had already crawled up his neck. Dàgē was about to turn into a cracked ice sculpture, and you still forbid me to cry?
The Ice Emperor solemnly spoke. “No. Shuyu, it’s me who wants to beg you. Please don’t let the Jiang family of this world experience any loss. Please do what I couldn’t. Take me with you. Let me see a different future.”
I didn’t even have time to form a question; the person in front of me had already completely crystallized into an ice sculpture. I didn’t dare to move. My arms were firmly held by the Ice Emperor. If I moved, I could cause him to shatter.
I clearly hadn’t moved, yet that large crack spread in all directions. Things happened within seconds. The ice sculpture completely broke into pieces, scattering across the ground. I reached out, yet was only able to catch a few ice crystals. At that moment, I could only stare at the ice crystals in my palms, stunned.
Suddenly, the ice crystals that covered the ground floated upwards. My sight was filled with crystals. It was a breathtaking sight, but it was created with Dàgē’s life. I don’t even want to look at it!
All of a sudden, all those floating ice crystals gathered together, condensing a bit. Then, they transformed again. They looked as if they were going to burst into pieces, and even vanish into thin air. I hastily reached out, wanting to grab those ice crystals. Even one would be alright.
My fingers closed in, yet I grabbed something sturdy.
What’s this? I blinked.
The ice crystals started to condense along the area where I held onto the shape of a baton. Then, it extended both ways. In the end, it was about the height of a person—a tall spear. The shaft of the spear to the point of the head was all a translucent, glowing, silver blue, like ice but not. The end of the shaft was sharpened to a point, while the spear head was the shape of a knife. It was a type that could not only slash but also stab. The entirety of the ice spear was beautiful yet deadly.
At this moment, a smear of silver blue extended upward from my right hand, which I was gripping the spear with, starting at the pinky. Simple and neat lines meandered up to my upper arm. If it weren’t for the glow, it would have looked like a tattoo. However, the luminescence slowly dimmed. Now, the designs on my arm really became tattoos, silvery blue tattoos.
I stared blankly at the tiny clump of crystals that was still in front of my eyes. While I was still at a loss, it actually transformed into a dagger, a clear, silvery blue one. Abruptly, the whole dagger transformed into light and shot toward my left hand. Silvery blue lines once again bloomed on my skin. The only difference was that the lines on this side were very short, looping once around my wrist like a bracelet.
An ice spear and an ice dagger. They were the two weapons that I was best at wielding. Ice Emperor, could you be any more thoughtful than this?
I came to a sudden realization. The Ice Emperor could have definitely hung on, but he had chosen to use the last of his strength to transform into weapons for me.
Maybe, this is exactly what he originally had in mind? Accompany me home, take a look at Shujun, then use the last of his strength to transform into weapons as atonement.
But who knew the MORC would suddenly ambush me. He had probably thought I was dead—after all, I had received several shots to the chest. Therefore, he had exploded in power, resulting in this icy landscape. Finally unable to continue on, he could only move up his plans of transforming into weapons.
Unable to ever set eyes on Shujun, how much must he have regretted that?
“MORC, I will destroy you if it’s the last thing I do!”