Dominion’s End Volume 3: Ice-Bound Splendor and Majesty
Original novel in Chinese by: 御我 (Yu Wo)
Extra: Frozen Heart—translated by Michimochi (proofread by elisa & Arcedemius; C/E edited by lucathia)
“Boss, just a bit further and we’ll arrive.”
Lily turned her head, revealing an ugly, centipede-like scar across her face, a sigh-worthy sight.
Jiang Shutian indifferently said, “You guys station yourselves here. I’ll go in by myself.”
Upon hearing his words, Lily felt a bit uneasy. For these past years, Jiang Shutian had risked everything just to return to the Jiang family. It was not long ago that they had lost Xiao Sha. The mercenary troop didn’t have that many people left—those that were left weren’t even senior-ranked members.
It could be said that the whole mercenary troop had almost been annihilated just for the sake of coming back to this place. If they had chosen to remain stationed where they had started, they definitely wouldn’t have been like this today.
Under these circumstances, how could Jiang Shutian bear to greet failure? But in reality, they all knew that failure was just around the corner. It was just that he himself, from the very beginning, had been unwilling to face it.
“Let me come with you.”
“I have to go by myself.” Jiang Shutian coldly said, “No objections allowed!”
Lily shut her mouth, knowing full well that any further attempts would not work. The Jiang family had become a sore point for the boss. No one else was allowed to touch it.
She was only worried that once her boss saw the truth, this sore point would get out of hand all at once. What kind of consequences would that result in?
The troop was nearly out of people. If they lost the boss, Lily really didn’t know where she could go. Of course, with her ability, going anywhere would not be a problem, but no place would hold any meaning for her. She had nothing keeping her anchored, only the JDT. If there was nothing left of the troop, she felt that she would not have the courage to continue on.
In this kind of world, your destination didn’t matter. What mattered the most was whether or not there was someone to accompany you.
“Boss.” Lily, in distress, begged, “I only want you to remember. We’ve accompanied you all the way here, even using our lives to escort you home! Please remember that I’m still here.”
Jiang Shutian looked at her. He moved his lips, but in the end, he spoke not a single promise.
Lily turned her back on him. Tears rolled down her face, yet her tone was cold as she said, “Xiao Sha hasn’t been avenged yet. As the leader of this troop, you have the responsibility to avenge him. Even if you die by Thirteen’s hand, this vengeance must be dealt!”
A response finally came from behind her. “Yeah.”
Lily felt relieved. She wiped her face. At least, she was certain that the boss would come back. As for whether he would purposely seek to die with Thirteen, that was a problem for the future.
When she turned back around, her boss was already far off in the distance. Under the setting sun, a path of ice crystals reflected the crimson color of the sunset. It was a gorgeous sight, yet Lily only felt it to be ominous, the color of blood. No matter how beautiful, it could only be a sign of bad luck.
Jiang Shutian took his time advancing forward. With his current ability, his top speed was something that outsiders could not even imagine. It was rare that he revealed his true strength since there wasn’t ever a need to do so.
There was now some sort of “Top Twelve Elites in the World” kind of title due to communications being restored. Otherwise, how could anyone know what was going on with the other continents? Don’t even mention having a ranking of those elites.
On the side of the humans, they had Ice Emperor Jiang Shutian, Thunder God Jin Zhan, and Flame King Debert.
Among them, Thunder God Jin Zhan lived nearby. Jiang Shutian knew Jin Zhan. Although he didn’t know him well, and he hadn’t seen him for so long, he had no intention to visit him. Most importantly, home was not far off. All other affairs and social interactions would have to be postponed.
Humans had sort of hoped that the Big Three would unite. After all, aberrants were by far the stronger ones, and it so happened that human beings were their number one menu option.
Jiang Shutian, however, knew this unification would never happen. Jin Zhan was, after all, the mafia’s young master. He wouldn’t obediently listen to others. Debert was, on the other hand, a military and a government official figure. The government over there relied on Debert and his military subordinates, struggling to get by. The fact that Debert was still willing to obediently listen to the orders from his higher-ups was already difficult to believe. On top of that, would the government and the military listen to someone else’s orders? Equally unlikely.
The power of Jiang Shutian’s troop was the weakest of the three groups. Jiang Shutian hadn’t even established a base, but he wasn’t afraid of them. Jin Zhan and Debert hadn’t even broken through tier seven, while he had reached tier eight a long time ago.
Killing his entire way here really was the best way to train. Jiang Shutian couldn’t help but laugh bitterly. He had no choice but to admit that suffering was indeed greatly beneficial toward enhancing strength.
No matter how slowly he walked, he’d have to face it eventually. From a distance, Jiang Shutian recognized the residential area where his own house was located. No matter how thoroughly it had been destroyed, he could still recognize it instantly.
Descending from his ice path, he walked over one foot at a time. Even though he wanted to walk slower, he couldn’t help but increase his pace. Stepping into familiar yet unfamiliar streets, one after another, Jiang Shutian discovered that his memories had somewhat faded. He finally found a familiar street sign. He remembered—walk forward two steps, face the left, and he would see his home…
A humongous black aberrant was standing not far away. No matter how Jiang Shutian wanted to lie to himself, he couldn’t. That really was his house.
Jiang Shutian slowly made his way over. He could not collapse, not yet. It had been so many years that the odds that Shuyu and Shujun would be waiting where they had originally been was not high. They could have moved elsewhere a long time ago. He had just come to search for clues.
But he had been subconsciously ignoring a fact all this time. Ice Emperor Jiang Shutian. This name had resounded throughout the world long ago. If they were still alive, why wouldn’t they come to look for their dàgē?
Jiang Shutian stepped forward to get a good look at this aberrant. As a tier eight, he could approach anything without being discovered.
This aberrant was unexpectedly very human-like. The top half was a human body, except the strands of his long black hair were snake-like—like Medusa’s. There were red-veined patterns on his body. In particular, there were two red patterns under the eyes as if stained from tears. The lower half, however, was a huge lump of mud.
The entire aberrant was entrenched on top of the half-dilapidated house. It was staring at the setting sun as if it was fond of that crimson thing.
Jiang Shutian stood there, unmoving for a long time. He did not want to move. He was unwilling to move…
If only it didn’t look so similar. If only there was a larger difference, to the point of being unrecognizable. At least, he would be able to keep a sliver of hope. He would still be able to search for the impossible.
But the Heavens wouldn’t even give him that bit of pity!
The aberrant jumped and whipped his body around. Once the aberrant saw that it was a puny thing behind him, he relaxed. He thought this thing was too small and weak, and that was why he hadn’t noticed it.
“Shuyu. I’m… I’m your dàgē. Do you still remember?”
Jiang Shutian had once heard that some aberrants retained their original human consciousness. He had scoffed at it before, but now—anything would do. He was willing to believe anything at this point.
“Aye-ya-ya. There is still someone who doesn’t get it, huh?” The aberrant chuckled. “I’m not your guy. You should clearly know this. Didn’t you humans get this figured out already? We latch onto human carcasses. We absorb all the nutrients and grow into aberrants after that. Humans are just soil and fertilizers in which we could plant our roots in. We can even eat you guys afterwards in order to evolve. Thank you for your great sacrifice.”
The illusion crumbled cruelly. Jiang Shutian felt he was on the verge of going mad. He knew it all too well. Shuyu had long since kicked the bucket, had died in the midst of the black fog—no, maybe even earlier, during the fallen-tile incident. He might have already died then.
This aberrant had seized Shuyu’s corpse and had even kept his face. Yet, he was definitely not his dìdi, Jiang Shuyu!
His family was long gone. All of his mercenaries had known this very clearly. Jiang Shutian had been the only one unwilling to believe it, sacrificing everything to come back home.
How he had hoped that Shuyu had not died. Even in a deep coma, he might have survived the moment of judgment. He might have even woken up after that.
Shuyu was that strong and optimistic of a kid. He only needed to wake up, and he would be able to protect Shujun, Uncle, and Auntie. Shuyu would be able to protect them all, until he came back.
But all that was a mere pipe dream.
There was no such thing as a “miracle.”
Dìdi, Mèimei, Uncle, and Auntie had been long dead since the beginning of the apocalypse. He had spent all these years to come back and search for his family and had even lost members of the mercenary troop again and again: Cain, Zheng Xing, Yunqian, Xiao Sha… Only Lily was left.
And what was all this for?
Jiang Shutian looked up at the sky and sighed deeply. In one blink, icy cold aura burst out.
“You, you…” The aberrant shrieked, “Don’t tell me you’re the Ice Emperor Jiang Shutian? Impossible! Even if you are the Ice Emperor, you can’t be this strong. I’ve almost reached tier seven. I’m so close.”
Jiang Shutian coldly declared, “You will only be ‘close’ forever.”
The Ice Emperor struck. This aberrant really wasn’t weak. It was just as he had said—he was close to tier seven. Who would have known that there was an aberrant this powerful near Thunder God Jin Zhan’s neighborhood that had gone undetected? Over time, it might even become another Thirteen.
As expected of an aberrant that had formed from Shuyu. It really was stronger than most.
Jiang Shutian felt that his way of thinking was a little twisted. He didn’t want to kill this aberrant. He didn’t want to stop nursing this sore point he had for so many years this easily. He was afraid he wouldn’t be able to go on—not even Xiao Sha’s vengeance could make him go on.
How long they had fought, Jiang Shutian simply couldn’t tell. Even if he could continue battling on, the aberrant wasn’t able to do so. Countless times, the aberrant had wanted to escape, yet how could he? The muddy lump that was his lower-half had already been frozen into ice by the Ice Emperor, firmly binding him to the spot.
Jiang Shutian walked in front of him. Their figures were as different as night and day. The aberrant was so big it was like a house. Jiang Shutian could only stand on the aberrant’s leg and raise his head to look at that familiar yet unfamiliar face.
“Don’t kill me!” the aberrant implored. An idea suddenly flashed through his mind, and he quickly shouted, “Gēge. You’re my gēge, right? I remember now. Gēge, don’t kill me!”
“Call me Dàgē. You and Shujun both like to call me Dàgē.”
“Dàgē!” He immediately exclaimed, readily accepting this great advice.
Jiang Shutian smiled faintly as he climbed his stairs of ice to the aberrant’s face. He then, caressed that extremely handsome face. His dìdi had always been so beautiful that even Shujun had said that after looking at Èrgē for so long, she really didn’t know what kind of handsome guy she’d need as a husband to be pleasing enough to her eye.
Even transformed into an aberrant, he isn’t bad looking, sheesh.
In response to this, the aberrant inwardly relaxed. It seemed he could still continue to live on, and maybe he had even gained an ally?
Considering this, he got excited. Although he had gotten beaten to shit and needed a lengthy time for full recovery, if he could get this ally in exchange, then that was a victory!
“Shuyu, just tell Dàgē one thing.”
“Sure!” The aberrant did his best to pretend to be harmless and innocent, yet he wasn’t aware just how sly his outward appearance was, making him appear strange and ridiculous.
Jiang Shutian smiled faintly and asked in a light tone, “Did you eat Shujun?”
The aberrant froze. He had eaten humans for so many years, how would he know who he had eaten, much less the names of his food?
Jiang Shutian suddenly slapped himself hard and mumbled, “What am I saying! Shuyu would never hurt Shujun. Although he loves to tease his mèimei, he would never lift a finger against Shujun! Aberrant, you aren’t Shuyu at all!”
The aberrant sensed that things had gone south and decided to sacrifice his mud-like lower-half and escape. However, he was already an arrow at the end of its flight—how could he possibly escape the hands of the Ice Emperor?
Blast that beautiful face apart—this aberrant does not have the right to wear Shuyu’s face. Blast that chest apart—an aberrant should not have Shuyu’s heart. Blast everything here apart— since home no longer exists, this place should turn into a cemetery to accompany the dead.
His heart was as cold as ice.
Jiang Shutian discovered that his power had become stronger. He had already been a tier eight elite who was able to turn his nose up at the world. Am I tier nine now? Probably no one can be sure, since no one has been able to reach this level.
But what’s the point?
His whole world had been destroyed a long time ago. He himself had only just discovered it.
Just like an ice sculpture frozen in place, he stood there for a long time until Lily came over to find him. He then kneeled and cried for a whole night. He followed her back and formed a base, expanding the JDT. Just the title of “Ice Emperor” was enough for crowds of people to join in one heap after another.
Until that day, when an insect-like guy mentioned the possibility of returning to the past, Jiang Shutian suddenly felt that he had come back to life…
[Frozen Heart, end]