Dominion’s End Volume 4: Battle for Lan City
Original novel in Chinese by: 御我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 2: A Call Without a Response—translated by Michimochi (proofread by elisa & Arcedemius; C/E edited by lucathia)
The trip for Lan City was now scheduled for three days from now. It would have been better if we set off earlier, but I had just returned. I wanted to stay with my big brother and little sister for a bit longer. Plus, it wasn’t as if I had figured out what was going on with the “tattoos” on both of my arms. I had to figure it out before going into the city, or else there wouldn’t even be any weapons for me to use.
My head started hurting when I thought about that time I had just returned home. Dàgē had mistakenly thought that I had these tattoos forced on me. I should stick with calling these “ice patterns” for now. After all, I’ve never seen anyone with silvery blue tattoos before. The color really is beautiful, but if anyone used such a color in a tattoo, that person would probably be poisoned by metal toxicity or something similar.
In order to thoroughly investigate this ice pattern in the full-length mirror in the room, I had cut off the sleeves of my shirt, turning it sleeveless. But with the weather getting colder, I would stick out like a sore thumb if I wore this into the city. I would need to add a jacket as a disguise, but I wasn’t sure if covering the ice pattern would affect the summoning of the spear and the dagger. I had to get this sorted out.
The ice pattern on my right sprawled along almost my entire arm, from the tip of my pinky all the way to my upper arm. Luckily, the lines of the pattern weren’t too clustered. There were just a few, and the icy blue color was very faint. It was nothing too outrageous; or else this delicate face of mine coupled with many complex tattoos would most definitely give an immeasurably odd impression.
The ice pattern on my left, on the other hand, was quite a bit smaller. The lines were thinner, wrapping once around the wrist. If this had been a real tattoo, I think I would be able to accept such a design. It was quite nice to look at.
My guess was that the right one represented the long spear and the left one represented the dagger. Since the gap between the size of the two weapons was quite large, naturally the gap between the size of the two ice patterns would be just as big.
In order to prove this point, I immediately shouted, “Come out, Ice Spear!”
Even after waiting several seconds, nothing appeared. I looked at my right arm speechlessly. Did I get it wrong? Is the spear on the left instead? But I recall it should be on my right…
I eyed my left arm skeptically, then called out again. Not a single response. What’s going on?
If the spear is no good, then what about the dagger?
I hastily called out to summon the ice dagger. The silvery blue ice pattern on my left wrist glowed faintly. Suddenly, there was a chilling feeling in my hands as if I was touching a piece of ice. A sliver of ice had condensed in my hand, its shape somewhat like a dagger. Success!
As the moment of bliss went by, I immediately gripped the misshapen ice dagger, yet it shattered just as I closed my fingers around it. Its fragments scattered all over the floor, melting instantly, leaving not a single trace behind. Even the glow of the ice pattern had disappeared without a trace.
My mind blanked. I thought I had crushed the dagger into smithereens just by holding it. Several moments passed before I finally snapped out of it. If I could crush a dagger transformed from the Ice Emperor just like this, was there even a need for me to have a dagger in the first place?
I gathered energy once again, but this time I didn’t shout “ice dagger.” After all, it had suddenly occurred to me how stupid it was to call out for a weapon. This was not some magic spell that needed an incantation. Why did I even think I needed to call out earlier?
If you shout “Come out, my XX00 weapon” before battling with aberrants, isn’t this hinting to the opponent to just hurry and finish you off before that?
As I had thought, even without shouting out loud, the ice pattern glowed and gradually condensed into the form of a dagger.
This time, I waited for a moment. Once its shape was a bit sturdier, I made my move and gently wrapped my fingers around it. It didn’t shatter this time. The ice dagger was hard, but still as thin as a cicada’s wing. I almost couldn’t feel its presence. It was like that shard of ice that had protected my heart back then. Wait a minute, this still isn’t right. The last time I saw the ice dagger, it was a sturdy dagger, not just a piece of ice.
What exactly went wrong? Am I not qualified enough to wield a completely intact dagger? Is that the reason the ice spear isn’t even willing to appear?
What should I do now? There’s only three days left until we enter Lan City. This amount of time isn’t enough to create a weapon I can use. Don’t tell me I have to battle with a piece of ice? Still, the sharpness and sturdiness were both present in this one. My shard of ice that had protected my heart had been thin, yet it had been stronger than the spear I had created. Even if the Ice Emperor’s dagger was just a piece of ice, it would definitely be more powerful than the protective shard that I had created.
But there would always be that “what if” in times like these, like what if I shatter it this time, and then I can never put it back together again? This was a weapon that the Ice Emperor left behind! This was all that was left of his existence…
Let’s just try again. I can’t use it when it’s like this!
A knock sounded, followed by Dàgē’s voice from outside. I hastily withdrew the piece of ice before opening the door.
Dàgē said unhappily, “What are you doing locking yourself up in your room all day long? Come with me to look at the plans of the base. I also want to discuss Uncle’s power with you.”
My eyes immediately shone. “We know what Uncle’s power is now?”
Dàgē smiled as he nodded.
Awesome! All the abilities of the Jiang family are now known. I wonder what kind of power it is? Even with me as the ultra cheat, it still took until now to discover Uncle’s ability. It must be a very unique ability? I shot a glance at Dàgē, yet he just smiled, not saying a single word. I couldn’t believe he was still keeping up the suspense.
“Let’s go find Uncle then.” I was too lazy to care about this big brother of mine who was becoming more and more childish lately. I turned and walked right out of the room.
Dàgē shook his head and said, “I’m starting to miss the time when you were still amnesic.”
“What. Miss the time I was still scared of you?” I unhappily glared back at Dàgē.
“What nonsense are you talking about? I miss the time when I still had some influence over you. At the very least, you would be apprehensive before you ran off.”
“Even if I were apprehensive, I’d still run off anyway. Even if I wasn’t kidnapped by a bird, I was thinking about leaving home for tens days to half a month for Zhongguan City.”
Even if my mind only contained Guan Weijun’s memories and not Jiang Shuyu’s, my mind would still be focused on wanting to enter the city for training. My heart had feared Dàgē, yet my actions hadn’t been the least bit more obedient. Jiang Shuyu at least announces his leave before actually leaving! Guan Weijun will leave without saying anything. Though I claimed to fear him, my conduct was quite audacious.
Dàgē stared speechlessly at me with his eyebrows scrunched deeply enough to kill a fly, but I was not going to give up because of that. Entering the city to train was a must. Jiang Shuyu had been raising his little sister and taking care of the household since young. He was never the kind that needed protection. Coupled with Guan Weijun’s past life’s regrets and this life’s grief, this time I will become so strong, so powerful, and so tyrannical that everyone will obey me!
Uh… okay, that last one is up for negotiation. I suddenly realized that my thinking was seriously skewed. If this continues, I will end up turning into a tyrant. Oh no, I have to obediently dial that back and pretend to be a weak pretty boy. Dàgē is more suited to be the tyrant.
However, presently, Dàgē’s eyebrows were deeply locked. Even if he were a tyrant, he would be a sullen tyrant. I could only try consoling him again, “Dàgē, I’m only going to scout the outer area of Lan City. You don’t have to worry too much. I’ve already lived ten years in the apocalypse. I know exactly how to continue to live on.”
Dàgē stared at me, then earnestly asked, “Promise me. Survival comes first, okay?”
I nodded. That goes without saying. Everything is over once you’re dead… Well, assuming that reincarnation isn’t an option. But with a miraculous reincarnation happening once already, with my previous life being Guan Weijun, and this life being Jiang Shuyu, then what’s next?
Even if I can reincarnate into the Flame King or the Thunder God, I’m not going to switch to either! I will cling on to the Jiang family forever, even to my dying breath!
After receiving the desired response, Dàgē finally stopped being a sullen tyrant. He patted my shoulder and said, “Let’s go and take a look at the base’s plan. Your experience is broad. If there are any changes that need to be made, just put them forward.”
I nodded and followed Dàgē to the dining room. All of a sudden, I felt like it was time to eat. I couldn’t help but say, “Dàgē, we should get the conference room done soon. With both meals and meetings held here, the serious atmosphere for a meeting isn’t present.”
Dàgē raised an eyebrow. “Which is more important, the conference room or the defensive fortification of the surroundings?”
“… Defensive fortification.”
All right, we can just merrily eat our meals as we hold our meetings for now. There aren’t any outsiders right now anyway. We don’t need to worry about our image.
In the dining room, Zheng Xing, Uncle, Ceng Yunqian, and Lily were already waiting. The architectural plan was laid out on the long table.
“Shuyu, come over and take a look.” Uncle waved at me in high spirits.
Although Uncle was not an architect, he was an archaeologist, who specialized in excavating buildings. Therefore, he had some familiarity with buildings. As for Zheng Xing, he had the earth ability. When he just started, he could only loosen soil for planting. I wonder how much he has improved? So what do Yunqian and Lily specialize in again?
After pondering for a while, I recalled that Yunqian specialized in locks, traps, and the like. Whenever Dàgē recruited personnel, he would tell me about what they specialized in. However, after he recruited too many, it was too much effort to remember them all, so now I only had vague impressions.
Ceng Yunqian specialized in sniping, locks, and traps. Xiao Sha was amazing at stealth. Zheng Xing was a military doctor. Cain was good at fighting. Lily was… After thinking for a while, I still couldn’t remember what Lily specialized in.
Lily seemed to notice my pondering. She smiled as she said, “I’ve been in charge of the logistics for a while. Although I’m not the main manager, you guys don’t seem to have any other choices, so the boss made me in charge of supplies.”
I remarked, “Even if we had other choices, we would still choose you!”
Lily smiled charmingly. “You sure know how to phrase it.”
This was the truth. The people who followed Dàgē might not be the strongest, but they were the type who would never go right if Dàgē ordered them to go left. In the apocalypse, there were no better comrades than them. We’re not going to swap them out for anyone!
I looked down at the blueprint. It was so huge that it covered a good half of the table. This layout practically detailed half of Old Town, with the mansion as the focal point. This mansion already had stone walls surrounding it. The blueprint detailed thicker and taller walls, completely transforming them into the walls of a castle. People could even stand on them. Electric wires would be added to the outside of the walls like I had requested. There were also a myriad of large spikes in addition to densely packed glass thorns.
In summary, if we ever wanted to kill someone, we just had to slam them into the wall, and the person would end up with a lot of holes.
The clock tower that had originally been there would be kept, but it would receive all sorts of upgrades, converting it completely into a watch tower, and it would be the type that couldn’t be destroyed or taken down.
Even more excessively, there would be a moat outside the walls!
Of course, the moat itself wouldn’t do much against aberrants. However, I had ice powers, and Ceng Yunqian had water powers. To us, this canal would be a huge help.
Next was the outer residential area inside the walls. The traps all over the ground and the barbed-wired wall were really nothing—no, there was something. I could actually see several bunkers, big and small, along the way. I quickly took a closer look and found out that the plan was divided into top and bottom layers. The bottom layer was actually an underground passage! This blueprint didn’t just have bunkers—it was practically bonkers!
“So, how is it? Is it okay?” Zheng Xing and Uncle looked at me anxiously.
“Of course, it’s okay! But, can we really manage to do this?”
No matter how you looked at it, this was a massive construction project. This was basically on the scale of a base belonging to the late-stage apocalypse, and those were all built gradually after everyone’s powers had grown stronger. Right now, unless we have construction groups and heavy machinery from before the apocalypse, we wouldn’t be able build all of this, right?
Dàgē explained, “We need time and personnel. We can take it a step at a time. We need to mainly rely on Zheng Xing and Uncle; others’ abilities will also be of some help, like Cain’s fire and Yunqian’s water.”
“Uncle?” I twisted my head to look at Uncle, curious about what kind of ability could help with building this base.
Feeling a bit embarrassed, Uncle chuckled as he said, “Shutian had me recall my excavations and what I remembered about the layouts of the castles I’ve seen. After reflecting upon it, I discovered something wasn’t right. I could actually remember all the details very clearly. Even those contemporary military structures that I’ve only glimpsed, I could draw completely. So I figure, my ability should be ‘memory,’ right?”
Memory? Hard to say. If this was the previous life, then he’d definitely be the first to get left behind. However, this ability along with Uncle’s being an archeologist, plus his and Auntie’s love for reading and how well read they were—even The Encyclopedia of Moss and The Suicide Handbook were possibly the type to appear on their shelves—would definitely be a huge help for the base’s long term development.
In my previous life, I didn’t have any agricultural knowledge, so I could only rely on rudimentary books that I found. Even books about gardening were precious in my studies. I don’t know how many missteps we took before we were finally able to plant edible and stable staples successfully. Even more importantly, it had to result in something that wouldn’t eat us in return.
Throughout this process, Xia Zhengu was extremely impatient, always believing that looting was faster than farming. If it wasn’t for the older members painstakingly arguing that our food supply was emptying out, that the canned food and cookies had long passed their expiration dates, and that looting wasn’t a long term solution, he wouldn’t have even let me build a greenhouse.
After returning to my senses, Uncle looked at me nervously. I hastily replied, “Uncle, continue to think about every field of knowledge. Other than architecture, think about agriculture and cultivation too. When you have time, write it down. We should also think of a way to plant some stuff next.”
Uncle’s spirits immediately lifted, and he repeatedly claimed it was no problem, his expression quite happy. On the surface, it had seemed that Uncle hadn’t cared much about not having an ability, but he nonetheless had hoped to figure it out and to be of some use.
This reminded me. For the upcoming scouting, instead of searching for food, I should bring more books and seeds back instead. In the beginning of the apocalypse, food was not hard to find. Instead, it was those kinds of things that would be gone forever once they were gone.
“Oh right, also add a library room…” Pausing mid-sentence, I looked down at the blueprint of our base and instead said, “add a library floor.”
Uncle’s eyes glistened, and he exclaimed, “Yeah, let’s add one! Shutian, Shuyu, with the whole world becoming like this, tons of knowledge will definitely vanish. Since we have the power and the ability, just think of this as our responsibility to preserve the knowledge and culture of humanity to then pass on to future generations!”
Passing on to future generations, is it? That phrase sounded really grand, but I was just thinking about how unexpectedly useful knowing all this stuff had been. Back when I was planting and farming, I couldn’t even remember just how many times I regretted that I hadn’t taken lots of books from those bookstores I had passed by. Later on, many places got destroyed, and things like books were great materials for fires in the winter, so extremely few of them had remained.
I thought it over and said, “Then, let’s just find a room to store the books for now. Lan City is a huge metropolis. There’s got to be federal library. Later, we can take over that place. A bit of fixing up, and we’ll be able to use it.”
Hearing this, Uncle beamed. “Right, right. The books of a library would be more thorough and complete than a bookstore’s.”
Seeing how happy Uncle was, I could only shut my mouth and not clue him in. Once winter arrived, who knew how many books would be left in the library? So, we should still head to the bookstores first to grab some books. After all, later on, the library might end up being just an empty building with no books in it.
Dàgē suddenly said sternly, “Shuyu, I will not permit you to go to that federal library!”
Startled, I helplessly said, “Dàgē, do you really think I’m that reckless? Ever since I was a kid, the ones who loved running straight toward danger were always you, Uncle, and Auntie, right? Junjun and I were always the good kids obediently staying at home. “
Uncle lifted his head to look toward the sky, only to discover there was only the ceiling above his head. He then dipped his head to pretend to study the blueprint again.
Zheng Xing laughed out loud. Lily let her boss keep a bit more dignity by covering her mouth to giggle.
“…but you’ve been reckless recently.” Dàgē was embarrassed yet unwilling to give up on that fact.
I thought for a moment and said, “It’s probably because I wasn’t the least bit daring in my last life that I regretted it to my dying breath.”
After saying that, everyone stared straight at me. Dàgē had known all the details, but the others hadn’t gotten the full picture. Previously, Guan Weijun was afraid of letting people know about this situation, but now I am a hundred percent Jiang Shuyu. So what if people know about the reincarnation business? Hmph, if anyone dares to provoke me, the whole Jiang family will come and crush you!
“Dàgē, more than worrying about me, you should be worrying about yourself. Of all the members in the Jiang Dominion, the one who has the most potential to survive until the end is definitely me!”
This line might have been over the top, but I really couldn’t stand looking at Dàgē’s current worrywart self. Before I got kidnapped by the bird, at least he would still let me face tens of aberrants all by myself. Yet now, he was like an overly protective mother bear who couldn’t bear letting her cub get a single scratch. What about our agreement on being domineering, Dàgē!
Hearing this, Dàgē was instead relieved and nodded. “Remember to have Shujun with you. Then, I will have no worries.”
I confidently said, “Well, of course! If I haven’t fallen, then Junjun won’t get a single scratch!”
Actually. I don’t have the right to criticize other people. I’m also a protective mother bear. If the one who got kidnapped by the bird was Junjun—I can’t even imagine it! Just thinking about it makes me crazy. Okay. I kinda understand Dàgē’s recent neurotic behavior. Guess I should let it slide.
“What falling!” Dàgē furiously shouted, “Before I fall, nothing’s going to happen to you guys!”
Is this a domino effect where everyone’s going to fall one after another?
“Dàgē, actually you guys need to be more careful since you guys are going to stay here. With so many people working on the construction, plus our objectives and actions being so grand, no matter if it’s aberrants or survivors, they might all seek us out. So promise me, you’ll protect Junjun.”
Actually, these words were unnecessary. How could Dàgē not protect Junjun? Only by stepping over his dead body could one hurt Junjun. Yet, I had to divert his focus here, so that he wouldn’t constantly worry about my safety and overlook the base’s. When I returned, I didn’t want to discover that something had happened at home.
Dàgē agreed briskly, “I’ll protect Junjun. You better protect yourself.”