Dominion’s End Volume 4: Battle for Lan City
Original novel in Chinese by: 御我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 1: The King, Jiang Shutian, is Born, Part One—translated by Kiki (proofread by Arcedemius; C/E edited by lucathia)
“Disintegration is a lot simpler than reconstruction. I can make a tree trunk disappear with a wave of my hand, but reconstructing it on the other hand takes a long time and is a lot more difficult. Reconstructing this tree trunk is pretty much my daily limit, and I can only do it because the tree’s composition is fairly simple. The more complicated something is, the harder it is to reconstruct.”
At that point, Dàgē sighed with some dissatisfaction, “I still need to train more.”
You might as well train to destroy the world with a wave of your hand, then!
As expected of someone who would have originally become the Ice Emperor. Your natural talent is enough to make us little mortals want to just bash our heads against a brick of ice and kill ourselves! I hovered between life and death, almost dying several times just to get to tier two. Faced with Dàgē’s power, I really want to kneel down and shout, “Long live the Emperor. Long live His Majesty!”
“But it’s not that there are no limits to disintegration. I tested it on an aberrant and found that dead things are easier to disintegrate than living things. The disparity is still pretty big, and I’m not sure of why.”
I thought a bit and said, “It’s most likely because the energy inside the aberrant is blocking your disintegration. I once heard a theory about how all special abilities are just a way of using energy, just that every individual uses it differently to create different powers. That’s why it doesn’t matter what kind of ability it is—a tier one being will never be able to beat a tier five being.”
The difference of one tier is already very difficult to contend against, but there was still a chance among the lower tiers. After all, the beginning two tiers were able to be killed by guns, and it was nothing more than a matter of firepower. By tier three, bullets were no longer all that dangerous—artillery shells were much more useful… Unless the opponent had conveniently exhausted their power completely, then they could possibly be killed using a Barrett.
Tier ones crawled everywhere, tier twos weren’t much better than dogs, tier threes were considered human, and tier fours were fledging elites. Most were the leaders of small groups or the elite subordinates of a large organization’s boss.
A tier five would already be as powerful as a large stronghold’s boss, a tier six would be equivalent to a region’s overlord, and reaching tier seven was enough to enter the world’s strongest. Reportedly, it was said that the Ice Emperor had already taken a step into the eighth tier.
But I thought that the truth wasn’t so. Since Xia Zhengu was always concealing his strength whenever there were others watching him, the elites probably had also hid their actual strength, lowering their true power by a tier for the public. It was a very probable situation.
Perhaps there were even more elites that had entered the higher tiers but were hidden and hadn’t revealed themselves. It wouldn’t be odd even if tier nines or tier tens had existed.
Thinking of the present, I had already reached tier two just six months into the apocalypse. Even with my past life’s memories and the Ice Emperor’s help when I most needed it, I only had a bit more resources than other people. In the whole world, there were plenty of people like Thunder God Jin Zhan who had money, power, and subordinates. Could there really be no one stronger than me? That was something I didn’t dare claim.
Given the current progression, having only twelve elites seemed too few. The Ice Emperor had also said that the MORC definitely had many strong people among them, so numerous that they could even rival the existence of the twelve elites…
“Shuyu.” I heard Dàgē’s helpless voice call out.
I raised my head and asked, concerned, “Dàgē, how are the others doing with their special ability training?”
Dàgē thought for a moment before speaking. “Not bad, but they aren’t used to using their special abilities in a fight, and it doesn’t really raise their strength much. Even though they usually train on using purely their special abilities in a fight, when it comes to the real thing, they forget all about them and just instinctively use their guns and martial arts to fight. It’s nothing like how you blend in your ice ability when you fight.”
Hearing that, my face turned somber. “We have too many bullets! Dàgē, we can’t continue like this.”
“Then, what do you think we should do?”
I fell silent for a bit before announcing, “Advance into Lan City without guns.”
Dàgē asked calmly, “Can we bring hand weapons?”
“You can.” I myself still carried a spear and dagger, after all.
“Then, let’s do it.” Dàgē was actually quite brisk, not hesitating in the slightest when he replied.
Instead, it was me who was worried and asked, “What happens if there are casualties?”
“I can ask them in advance. Whoever doesn’t want to go doesn’t have to go.” Dàgē’s voice was tranquil. “The practices of a mercenary group have always been that if your strength can’t keep up, you’d be dropped to the second squad, and the inferior ones would just continue to fall.”
I was startled for a moment before recalling that the rules of a mercenary group really were like that. Dàgē’s mercenary group could be regarded as a medium sized organization and was separated into five squads. Zheng-shū was only in the fourth squad. After all, age was one factor, but he was also considered to be the mercenaries’ doctor, so his fighting ability wasn’t everything. Even the first and second squads liked to have him join them on their missions.
Lily was part of the second squad. Xiao Sha’s talent was quite good, but he was green with little experience, and was therefore placed in the third squad. But I recall that Dàgē had once said that he wanted to promote him to the second squad.
In the first squad, there was Ceng Yunqian. Although Ceng Yunqian’s talent was about the same as Lily’s, her sniping ability was truly excellent. Cain was also in the first squad. All aspects of his strength were well above average. He could be considered a well-rounded expert.
I thought for a bit and smiled as I said, “If their strength can keep up, then we can designate them as squad leaders in the future. The ‘groups’ that come later will all be large assemblies that will number in the thousands. Dàgē, you absolutely cannot manage them as if they were a mere mercenary group. At the very least, you must lead like it’s a small city.”
“Is that so? Then, it really will be a bit troublesome.”
Dàgē frowned, seeming as if his head hurt somewhat. It was understandable. He could deal with a medium sized mercenary group thanks to me forcing him early on to go to a combat and staff college. Otherwise, when faced with missions that only some larger groups could undertake, he definitely wouldn’t have been able to complete them so smoothly. However, I don’t remember ever forcing him to study how to become a mayor.
“We can have Uncle and Auntie help you govern. They’re both leaders of archaeology teams, so they shouldn’t be any worse than you with any economic or political work. They’d probably be even better than you with logistics.”
After all, archaeology teams frequently stayed at one place for several months and could even stay up to a year at a time. If the logistics and goods management wasn’t up to par, they would only be able to pack up and return home to bathe and sleep.
Dàgē’s frown finally loosened, and he even deliberately released a sigh.
I spoke seriously, “Dàgē, you must become even more imposing than now, so when other people join the team later, they’ll think of you as a deep and unfathomable man. So long as you’re here, no one would dare to create the slightest trouble!”
Hearing that, Dàgē first laughed before immediately restraining his smile and forcing his face to turn solemn. He swept his eyes toward me and spoke with an apathetic voice, “Could it be that you still believe I’m not already imposing enough?”
Already imposing, but still not enough. Just now, who was it that had a huge grin on his face because of his dìdi?
I darkened the expression on my face and released an icy chill. The temperature in the room immediately dropped as some faint ice crystals began to solidify, hovering in the air. Dàgē immediately became guarded, his whole body turning taut as his pupils shrank.
Revealing enough, I slowly withdrew my ability. Dàgē also relaxed as he nodded. “Your acting was pretty good. It’d be better for you to act as the deep and immeasurable one.”
I forced a smile and pointed at my face. “Dàgē, I just turned eighteen and furthermore, I have this kind of face. Really, I would have to constantly release energy, or else others will definitely treat me like a powerless, delicate pretty boy.”
Dàgē paid no attention as he replied, “You’ll look aged after two years.”
After two years, I’ll only be twenty! What do you mean, aged! Telling a woman “You look old” is a surefire way to make her hate you, and it won’t be forgiven for an entire lifetime!
Seeing the expression on my face, Dàgē laughed and changed his words. “You’ll eventually grow up. That’s fine, right?”
His words made me suddenly remember something that I had yet to explain. I opened my mouth. “Dàgē, if you eat crystals in excess, your body will be preserved in peak state. That’s why people in the apocalypse don’t seem very old. Usually, the stronger one is, the younger they look.”
Dàgē was surprised. “There’s even such an effect? Then, could it be that it’s impossible to die from old age?”
I shook my head. “I’m not sure. I only lived for around ten years and although I didn’t eat too many crystals, I could still feel myself becoming a bit older.”
Although there weren’t many changes, a woman is very sensitive to these things!
Consider the Ice Emperor again, all right? He was obviously older than Dàgē by ten years, but rather than saying his face aged, it’d be far more appropriate to say that his whole person had undergone a great change. His facial features had no change.
Dàgē frowned and said, “Don’t tell me that you’ll look like you’re eighteen forever? Junjun is only fifteen. What should we do?”
That would just be too terrifying! Wouldn’t that mean all the children who ate crystals wouldn’t grow up?! I immediately explained, “My body still shouldn’t have reached its peak state yet, so I will at least grow until I’ve reached the best possible state. I believe it should be around twenty-five years old.”
At least, Xia Zhengu had looked around twenty-five, with absolutely no change at all. I hoped I had not guessed wrong. If I always retained my appearance of an eighteen year old, I’d have to wait for my next life to gain any authority.
Dàgē didn’t understand. “Twenty-five is a pretty good age, but don’t tell me that people that were already over twenty-five years old would start aging in reverse?”
I nodded. Some of the older people really could become younger. I remembered that there was an old comrade that was already thirty-seven or thirty-eight when the apocalypse had started. But after ten years in the apocalypse, not only did he not age, he had even turned younger. Although he didn’t exactly turn back into a twenty-five year old, he seemed as if he was only a bit past thirty and absolutely couldn’t be past thirty-five. If he had eaten even more crystals, maybe he might’ve actually been able to revert back to a twenty-five-year-old’s appearance.
Even if the crystals could allow people to return back to their strongest period, the apocalypse still had many people who looked old. This was because the circumstances were simply too harsh, and many people were often struggling between life and death. Both thin and shriveled with skin as dry as tree bark, it made those people look as if they were incredibly old.
Dàgē suddenly laughed and said, “Just wait for Uncle to eat a lot of crystals and look young again. At that time, ‘Dàgē’ might have to be his title instead.”
That’s actually true! The Jiang family’s traits are all so distinct, so in the future, maybe we really would look like four siblings… but that isn’t important!
I nagged, “Dàgē, your smile is way too happy. Your imposing demeanor is completely gone! You must remember to keep a dignified air at all times. As long as there are people around, you absolutely cannot reveal such a cajoling, flattering smile. It’d also be better if you always released a little bit of energy. In any case, you can consider it training your special ability. Also, pay more attention to your clothes. When we enter the city, we have to find some good clothes to alter them. I can do a bit of needlework, so in the future, I can help you make an outfit fit for a leader. As the proverb says, fine clothes make the man…”
Fortunately I had lived ten years in the apocalypse in my previous life. It was out of the question to not pick up needlework. What kind of things didn’t need to be altered by my own hands? All in all, I had acquired countless survival skills—Guan Weijun, the level ninety-nine daily life assistant!
Dàgē helplessly touched his face and said, “I never even knew I had such a flattering smile.”
“When we enter the city, I’ll go find a Polaroid camera and take a picture for you to see.”
“…Leave it, I’ll just trust what you said.” Dàgē frowned and said, “I can’t ever smile in the future? This is actually pretty troublesome.”
“Of course you can smile, but you must smile with the manner of an elite!” I looked at the surroundings but saw that the open courtyard wasn’t a good place for instruction and could only say, “Let’s practice again once we go to the third floor. We have to practice until you have a noble and icily arrogant aura. It’ll be very convenient once we enter the city to recruit people.”
“Training special abilities isn’t enough, I even have to train my acting skills, huh?” Dàgē laughed but didn’t oppose it. “Entering the city shouldn’t be done hastily. First, we should fortify this place so we can feel at ease when we enter the city.”
That’s right. Otherwise, it would be terrible if we were attacked. Our base is right next to a metropolis. We can’t be careless. But when I thought about how we would be separating into two groups, I immediately felt a headache. Right now, there were too few of us in the Jiang Dominion, so few that we couldn’t even be divided into two groups and still preserve enough firepower in both groups.
“Zheng Xing’s earth ability is pretty useful. I plan to have the perimeter wall heightened and thickened before placing a layer of wire netting over it.”
I immediately said, “I want to set up an electricity grid.”
Dàgē thought for a bit and replied, “Then, we need to find even more electricity generators. This small town does have electricity generators, and the number isn’t negligible, but we need them in several places, so it still might not be enough. Later in Lan City, let’s look for more.”
I pondered before forcing up the courage to make a suggestion, “Dàgē, if I want to take turns bringing one person with me to Lan City, would you agree?”
The more I spoke, the more my heart trembled. Dàgē’s face has completely changed!
Dàgē was silent for a long time, his expression so unpleasant that I couldn’t bear to say any more. “Never mind, I was just making a suggestion…”
“Okay.” Dàgē flatly agreed but still couldn’t help but add on, “However, you must promise me that nothing will go wrong.”
I opened my mouth. However, I couldn’t bear to lie to my own dàgē and could only honestly say, “Dàgē, you have to know that nothing can be guaranteed in this kind of world. I don’t want to lie to you.”
Hearing that, Dàgē stiffened before mocking himself, “Ah, right. You even managed to be taken when you had clearly been home, so maybe going into a big city won’t even be as dangerous.”
That’s… purely because of the Jiang family’s terrible luck. Generally speaking, encountering a situation at home was far rarer than encountering one in a big city. Who would have imagined that I could walk halfway around Zhongguan City with nothing happening, but while staying at home I’d be snatched up by a bird? Apart from bad luck, what else can you call it?!
“Besides, as it was, you were able to find us and return all by yourself.” Dàgē sighed, “Dàgē hadn’t thought that his resolve wouldn’t be enough. I’m being such a sissy, not at all like a man.”
I couldn’t help but mollify him. “Dàgē, I’m someone who has lived two lifetimes, which adds up to around fifty total years. In my past life, I even lived ten years in the apocalypse, while you’re only twenty-seven right now!”
Hearing that, Dàgē laughed. “Then, do you want to switch our roles, and I’ll call you Dàgē?”
“No way! Even if you dared to call me that, I wouldn’t dare to answer to it.”
Dàgē laughed in a deep voice, appearing to be very happy, his grin so large that it seemed as if his face would split. That I had safely returned and even recovered my memories made him seem happier than he had ever been even before the apocalypse. But, this is no good!
“You aren’t allowed to smile this much outside. Where did the imposing dignity we just talked about earlier go?”
Dàgē immediately restrained his rising lips, leaving his face expressionless. He shot a glance indifferently, a domineering air filling the room. It could make a person’s legs turn into jelly, leaving them only able to kneel in worship!
Fortunately I had already been exposed to it for eighteen years, so my legs were very solid as I simply nodded, saying, “That’s right, keep it just like this.”
The helplessness in Dàgē’s voice was rather obvious as he said, “Always keeping this kind of manner up is also pretty tiring.”
“Well in any case, Dàgē, you’ll be the future king. You won’t have to see people too often, and you don’t need to always be so solemn in private.”
If you were to always just see the Ice Emperor taking a walk by the roadside, his status would definitely become cheapened. It’s only natural for a god to be deeply hidden. In short, no outsiders can be allowed to witness my dàgē’s invincible airheaded side!
Dàgē seemed even more helpless as he replied, “What king? We’re not in the Middle Ages.”
I spoke seriously, “No, it’ll precisely become that kind of era in the future, and Dàgē, you’ll definitely become the king.”
Dàgē raised his eyebrows. “First it was a base, and now this talk about kings. Shuyu, do you wish for me to become a sovereign?”
It’s not about what I wish, but rather that you were originally a ruler, and I only want to prepare thoroughly so the road later will be smooth.
I hesitated for a bit before finally deciding to lay the matter out clearly. “Dàgē, do you still remember what I said about the twelve elites? I recalled some more details and want to tell you.”