Dominion’s End Volume 4: Battle for Lan City
Original novel in Chinese by: 御我 (Yu Wo)
Prologue: Disintegrate and Reconstruct—translated by Michimochi (proofread by Arcedemius; C/E edited by lucathia)
“Chen Qianru died.”
I was stumped for a moment. It’s not that big of a deal, but then again, how did she even get endangered? Chen Qianru couldn’t fight, and she hadn’t even discovered her power. Logically speaking, she should have been in the safest place, where she was unlikely to meet any kind of danger.
Though now that I thought about it, wasn’t I the one who had stayed home back then, and yet still got kidnapped by the bird? In the apocalypse anything could happen. An abnormal mouse might have bitten her life away.
Junjun explained what happened to those college students in further detail.
“I told Su Ying to hide in her room and avoid coming out, so as to prevent Dàgē killing her as well. The same with Ding Jun. Everyone told him to try staying out of Dàgē’s sight.”
What? Don’t tell me that this means that Chen Qianru died under Dàgē’s hands?
What the hell happened here? I really don’t understand. Although Dàgē is not the type that would be lenient toward a pretty girl, he is definitely not the type that would kill for no reason, let alone a woman who didn’t even have the strength to truss up a chicken. He still tolerated woman just a bit more than men.
“Why would Dàgē want to obliterate those college students?” I couldn’t understand even after pondering over this for the nth time. Asking would be much faster.
Yet Junjun asked in response, “Èrgē, do you still remember the day that big red bird appeared, that there was a gunshot that attracted them to us?”
I nodded. At the time, I had Yunqian arm everyone while I had hidden myself in the attic to monitor the situation. Originally, the flock of carrion-bloom birds would have flown straight over us, but a gunshot from downstairs had attracted them down, which led to all that trouble afterwards.
“Back then, Yunqian-jiě handed out guns to everyone but was unwilling to give one to Chen Qianru. When none of us were looking, she stole one and even carelessly fired a shot.”
So that’s how the gunshot that made those carrion-bloom birds stop in their tracks happened!
I was speechless. Chen Qianru, could you have had even more of a death wish? If you don’t know how to use a gun, don’t take one. Did you truly think reality was like that of a movie where you could just take a gun and immediately become a sharpshooter?
“Èrgē, when you got taken by that bird, Dàgē almost went mad. He had already driven so far, yet he wasn’t able to catch up. The bird was already out of sight. He had no choice but to turn the car back. After hearing from Yunqian-jiě about this, he killed Chen Qianru on the spot.”
At this point, Junjun couldn’t help but take a deep breath. She had probably found that scene quite horrifying.
“You didn’t try to persuade Dàgē to be more lenient?” I rubbed my nose. Even though I was the victim, since I was able to return alive, the reproach and anger I felt was not that deep.
“No way!” Junjun rebutted, “I was mad as well! Èrgē, you were injured all over and even got kidnapped by the bird. She caused all of this! She didn’t even know how to use a gun but still stole one. You suffered the consequences. Don’t tell me I even had to persuade Dàgē not to kill her? I just wanted to zap her to death! Èrgē, think about it. If her actions caused me to be the one taken away, would you have tried to persuade Dàgē to spare her?”
If the one who had been taken by the bird was Shujun…God, world destruction was possible! I immediately admitted, “Yeah, you’re right. I was wrong. Sorry.”
Junjun nodded to accept my apology and continued on.
“All of us were distressed. Dàgē took Xiao Sha, and the two of them went in the direction that the birds flew to continue the chase. Dàgē had the rest of us pack our supplies to follow them. Since everything happened so suddenly, everyone was so busy and distressed. No one’s happy at seeing Su Ying and Ding Jun around, so I told them to try and avoid showing their faces in front of everyone, and that I would bring them food.”
Speaking of this, her composure broke down. She murmured, “Actually, I didn’t want to talk to them either. I was thinking that if we hadn’t brought them back, then Èrgē wouldn’t have gotten endangered. On the other hand, I thought they were pitiful as well. I mean, they weren’t the ones who caused all this.”
Junjun was troubled.
I patted her head and said, “You did the right thing. Whoever caused it, they should pay. There’s no need to take it out on the innocent.”
If the one who had been taken away was Junjun, I most likely would have taken it out on the whole world. However, when educating this kind and lovable little sister, of course I couldn’t say that. Although I hoped to nurture Junjun into a woman strong enough to be able to protect herself, I didn’t plan to raise her into a witch who tosses all morals away!
Junjun suddenly remembered something and said, “Oh yeah, Èrgē. When you have time, you should go take a look at Dàgē’s power. The way he killed Chen Qianru was very weird…”
She stopped and gestured with her hands in the air for a long time. In the end, she dejectedly said, “It’s hard to describe. I don’t know how to say it. She just disappeared completely.”
She disappeared completely? I was baffled for a bit, but more than that, my curiosity rose. I immediately said, “I’ll go look for him right now.”
On the way to find him, I met Ding Jun. He sat on a stone stool under a tree in the courtyard, with a screw nut hovering ten centimeters above each hand. This did not match what Shujun had said about him and Su Ying staying out of sight, yet this was not that strange, either. He was getting blamed when it wasn’t his fault. Young people always liked to rebel, such as deliberately sitting in a bustling place like the courtyard to show off one’s ability. This was not that unusual.
Ding Jun looked at me, his expression begrudging. Although he worked hard to keep up a poker face, he couldn’t avoid it slipping. His effort in concealing his expression was not enough to win him any hands.
“Come to the dining table for dinner today.” I told him, “You’ve done well. There won’t be any more problems from here on out.”
Ding Jun was taciturn for a while before nodding his head.
This guy really was a man of few words, though Xiao Sha was like this in the beginning as well. As we became more familiar, I didn’t feel Xiao Sha was indifferent. On the contrary, I felt he shied away easily. Cain would always tease him into anger. Xiao Sha probably used indifference to disguise his true self.
Don’t know if it’s the same with Ding Jun. Hopefully when he warms up to us, he won’t be this standoffish or, if anything, I’ll just toss him to Cain to look after.
After pondering for a bit, I didn’t go find Dàgē yet. Rather, I walked up to the hallway on the right-hand side of the second floor. The rooms there had been assigned to the women for residency. Men were quartered on the other side. The only exception was that the whole Jiang family resided on right side of the third floor. Our rooms were three adjacent rooms. Junjun was placed in between Dàgē and me, for the sake of protection.
Dàgē said he had the right to half the floor as the mercenaries’ boss. As for the rest of the floor, he planned to modify it into a conference room, a place for core members to hold meetings.
Mr. Privilege had not caused dissatisfaction among the members, only smothered giggles. It was a rare chance for everyone to be able to ridicule this normally imposing captain, so they could not let this opportunity escape. Their amusement almost led to tears in their eyes. It was a pity that Dàgē’s composure and thick skin were both boss level. He was able to resolutely maintain the dignity of the mercenary troop’s boss, as if he wasn’t an older brother who was adamant on keeping his little brother and sister by his side.
Coming up to the second floor, I tentatively knocked on a few doors before finding the right one.
Su Ying timidly opened the door. Once she saw me, she was so alarmed that she nearly slammed the door reflexively.
“Come to the dining table to eat dinner tonight.” I maintained a smile, not wanting to scare her too badly. In the past, she was very scared of me. Now that she got frightened this much by Dàgē, she probably wanted to flee. It was just that going outside by herself was courting death, so she didn’t dare to leave.
Once Su Ying heard this, she finally lifted her head to look at me. As she saw that I was serious, she cracked and broke into sobs, a pitiful sight.
“Fortunately, you came back alive, or else…” She didn’t dare to finish that sentence.
I patted her on her shoulder and calmly said, “Don’t worry anymore. The thing with Chen Qianru has nothing to do with you guys. No one will blame you two anymore. It’s all right.”
To this, she cried even more miserably. Her face was drenched in tears to the point that she could give Maternibaby’s sad-looking face a run for its money. It seemed like the plight this time had really scared her to the bottom of her soul.
I didn’t bother talking to her any longer. I patted her back and let her finish crying. Once she finished crying, she should be okay.
She cried for a good amount of time before stopping. Then, feeling embarrassed, she wiped her face and said, “Then… then I’ll go to the kitchen right now and help Shujun with the cooking.”
I nodded my head, quite satisfied. This girl was able to get a hold of the situation very nicely. Out of the three people that we had brought back, I liked Su Ying the most. That time at the basement, she was also the one who had warned me about the danger. On top of that, she had a rare psychic ability. I should just assuage her fears and let her stay at ease among the mercenary group. In the future, she could become a true member.
“Then, I’ll go to the kitchen right now.”
I smiled as I nodded my head. She closed the door, carefully went around me, and broke into a run at once.
She ran as if there were aberrants chasing after her!
Su Ying, how bad can your eyes be? Are there any aberrants as handsome as I am? Disgruntled, I stopped smiling and scrunched my brows. Why are first impressions so hard to overwrite? Is even this face not enough to change her impression?
Then, Su Ying suddenly turned her head. She was so spooked that her legs almost gave away into kneeling. She bent her waist into a 90-degree angle and shouted, “Sorry. I forgot to say ‘Excuse me, I’ll be taking my leave.’”
Excuse my ass! Am I an emperor or something?! To be this scared of me… Su Ying, are your eyes just for show?
Could this be a retreat to advance? There were quite a number of women who would purposely give me a cold shoulder. Since childhood, I had encountered all sorts that tried to attract my attention. It was all this face’s fault, looking so sinful. This truly was a society ruled by appearances…
An “Ai-yah!” could be heard from the stairs, then the “thump-thump-thump” sound of falling, and finally a shout of, “I’m fine!”
… Most likely not.
I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. This Su Ying might really suit this Jiang territory. She’s basically an invincible airhead, so it doesn’t make sense for her not to join this troop of invincible soldiers!
“What are you laughing about?”
Hearing that familiar voice, I turned around as I gleefully called out, “Dàgē, how come you’re here?”
“Was about to head down.” Dàgē stood at the staircase. As he finished speaking, he saw how I was waiting merrily for him to continue. He then awkwardly continued, “I wanted to see where you were.”
I nodded. Totally understandable. If Shujun had been taken away by a bird and went missing for so long before coming back, I would just directly live at her right hand side for months.
“Perfect. I was looking for you as well.”
“Oh? What do you need?” Dàgē smiled, looking pretty happy. As long as he saw that I was normal, not clinging onto some pot, he would be happy. This was really a bit troublesome, but I didn’t have a solution. I could only let Xiaorong hide in my room or underneath my clothes and let him not to meet Dàgē as much.
Junjun, on the other hand, wasn’t as bothered about Xiaorong. However, she really couldn’t stand seeing me bare-footed. Even though I clearly explained to her that it was for the sake of practicing my ice powers, her eyes would redden every time she saw me bare-footed. I could only obediently put on my shoes properly.
It was a pity that I couldn’t find any men’s flip-flops. Those things were easy to put on and take off. Junjun had a couple of flip-flops, but her feet were so small. I couldn’t even fit into any of them. I searched and searched. I finally found a bag of blue and white slippers—but I hadn’t bought any? The supermarket had probably snuck a few unmarketable items in while I was paying for my shopping spree. Tch, okay, props to you!
However, the moment I put them on, Junjun looked over with disdain in her eyes. She said these types of shoes and my face were never meant for each other. It had made her eyes sting, and I was not allowed to wear them ever again.
Sigh. How could I forget to buy some flip-flops! Even though I never really wore them in the past, so of course I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy them. Tsk, for future reference, no matter what it is, bringing everything along would be the right thing to do, since who knows what might be useful someday.
“Shuyu, snap it out.” Dàgē fondly tried to get my attention.
“Oh.” I snapped out of it and asked, “Junjun said the way you killed Chen Qianru was strange. I wanted to see what’s up with that?”
Dàgē nodded his head. He started walking down the stairs and tossed out a line, “To the courtyard.”
I followed right behind him. Of course, it’s to the courtyard. Dàgē’s so strong! He was even the Ice Emperor in another world! What if the house gets torn down?
Although this house was one where the West meets the East, the style itself strange, not to my taste, at least it was our current place to rest our feet, and conquering Lan City was still far down the line. We would probably be living in this house for quite a while. Even if we really did plan to move to Lan City, this place was a perfect landmark. You could see the whole city from here. We definitely would have people stationed here; therefore, we needed to cherish this house.
In the courtyard, Ding Jun was still there. Once he saw Dàgē, his eyes lit up. He stood up instantly. In the next second, his eyes met mine. His face turned dejected immediately. Then, he used an indifferent expression to cover it up.
If it weren’t for Ding Jun’s expression appearing more like reverence than adoration, I might have thought he fell in love with my Dàgē and was treating me as if I was an unwanted third-wheeler…Bruh, this way of thinking is too horrifying. Just forget it! It’s not like everyone is the same as I am, having this excessive bro-con and sis-con of a brain.
Ding Jun wore an anxious expression and said, “Hello Boss.”
Dàgē didn’t react much when he saw Ding Jun. There was only his solemn leader’s demeanor present. He said indifferently, “I’m going to use this place. Go find a different spot.”
After laying down the order, he turned his head, smiling as he said, “Shuyu, wait for a bit. I’ll go find something to demonstrate on for you.”
Your face changed, Dàgē! I rubbed my nose. Seems like Dàgē this time feels guilty to the extreme. In the past, every time he came home after a long period of time, he would always behave like this. Giving his brother and sister a big smile, solemnity and dignity already packed away. Even Yunqian and Zheng-shū found this sight unbearable to watch and would always gaze outside the window at how magnificent the sun was.
To be honest, even Auntie and Uncle were like this. If they excavated for too long or if they accidentally injured themselves, then they would definitely come back with those radiant smiles as if sunflowers were blooming. Just by looking at their expressions, I would know what had happened and had no need to investigate if they had gotten injured.
“Sure, go ahead.”
Dàgē looked left and right, then frowned as if he wasn’t able to find anything suitable. He then walked further ahead toward the grove. He was probably thinking of breaking some branches off. Ugh, hope these trees are not as strong as Xiaorong.
Ding Jun stood where he was, as if he didn’t want to leave. That made me frown. Although I didn’t mind him staying, Dàgē had already given his order, yet he wasn’t following it. That would not do.
“Did you not hear what the boss said?” I said coldly, “Well, what are you waiting for?”
Ding Jun’s face stiffened, though he didn’t show any anger, even though the mere act of stiffening hinted at his displeasure. He nodded, saying, “Sorry, I’ll go now.”
Watching him walk out of the courtyard, I felt annoyed. We only took in three people, yet the result was Chen Qianru who got killed for causing me harm, Ding Jun who had enmity against me, which left us with just Su Ying, who was rather normal but was scared of me. Are we just meant to be at odds with each other?
I hoped that the next batch we took in wouldn’t be this problematic. But given my experience in my past life, no matter which group, big or small, there would always be never-ending disputes. And Dàgē’s Jiang territory would definitely grow bigger and stronger than the past life’s group. By then, we would have all sorts of people among us.
Chen Qianru and Ding Jun were both inconsequential. Chen Qianru was just a dumb girl who had made a deadly mistake, which took her life as a matter of course.
Ding Jun, in comparison, had self-control, but he was still full of openings. It was because Dàgē had never taken a notice of him that he hadn’t discovered Ding Jun’s enmity toward me.
If he had found out, with the current Dàgē’s level of feeling sorry for me, a death flag awaited Ding Jun. I shouldn’t interact with him much in the future. I wouldn’t want my Dàgē to go on killing some dumb flies. It’s beneath him!
“Shuyu, snap out of it.”
Dàgē dragged along a piece of tree trunk, his face filled with disapproval, condemning me for always letting my mind wander. His resignation was very clear.
It’s just that I was thinking too much, being easily entranced when I’m so focused. It’s a habit from childhood, which is really hard to change. “Being lost in my thoughts at home should be fine, right? As long as you’re here, Dàgē, would I meet any accidents?”
Dàgē paled and angrily rebuked, “What nonsense are you talking about! Don’t even mention any accidents in the future! You and Shujun are both going to be all right!”
After stepping on a landmine, I immediately adopted an apologetic stance and obediently said, “Of course, we will both be all right. Dàgē don’t mind my nonsense. They’re just the ramblings of a kid.” Although I’m eighteen on the outside yet thirty-five on the inside, when I say the wrong thing, of course I’m going to pretend to be a three-year old!
Dàgē’s expression gentled, and he then rubbed his brother’s head. He couldn’t help it and nagged, “When I’m here, you can let your attention wander at ease, but you can’t do that anywhere else. You need to remember this. Don’t make this into a habit and be distracted just anywhere and everywhere. Right now, this world is not a place you can afford to do that…”
I lowered my head as I listened to Dàgē’s nagging. I also thought I was too relaxed recently. If I had this attitude in the last life, no matter how I died, it wouldn’t have been strange.
After nagging for a long while, Dàgē finally stopped. He sighed. “Although I really want to carefully protect you guys, so that you don’t have to worry about these things…”
I lifted my head and interrupted, “Dàgē, even while growing up, since when have I ever needed anyone’s protection?”
“You’re not wrong, but it’s just…” Dàgē froze after those words and stared at me. He asked, “Growing up?”
I beamed and declared, “Dàgē, I remembered everything.”
Dàgē’s eyes practically lit up.
I didn’t keep him in suspense any longer and immediately explained, “I have been Guan Weijun’s reincarnation since birth. It’s just that after getting hit by the tile, I remembered everything about my past life but forgot Jiang Shuyu’s eighteen years of life.”
Dàgē smiled and nodded. “I was right about that. Now you don’t have to worry about it anymore.”
I shot him a glance and said, “Yeah, now the person who needs to worry is you.”
Dàgē’s smile stiffened. I smirked.
Jiang Shuyu was never afraid of Dàgē, and I was Jiang Shuyu.
I really didn’t know what I was afraid of in the past. Dàgē was formidable and domineering all right, but that was only to outsiders. To Shujun and me, this was not so. Because Dàgē was never home for long, he had always felt guilty toward us. That was why he always pampered his little brother and sister as much as he could.
On top of that, I had kept some of Guan Weijun’s awareness and was never really a true kid. Since childhood, Mom had always said that I had so much wisdom that I might as well have been a demon. There was never a need for Dàgē to worry about us, which made his pampering even more outrageous. After all, he wasn’t afraid of us being spoiled arrogant and let me have my say. On top of that, I was the one who raised Junjun, so of course whatever her Èrgē said, she followed.
If it weren’t for Dàgē and Xiǎomèi being so obedient and letting me become the person with the most say in the family, I wouldn’t have been able to spend a million bucks on gathering up supplies in a day so easily that day before the apocalypse. Even Lin-bó would probably have stopped me, as he would have had to at least ask Auntie and Uncle’s permission first. However, he was so used to having the second son giving out orders that he had even forgotten to report that to Auntie and Uncle.
Educating Dàgē, Xiǎomèi, Auntie, and Uncle since childhood had definitely been the right thing to do.
Remembering Lin-bó, a flash of grief seized my heart. Lin-bó had been home much more than Dàgē, Auntie, and Uncle. It would be a lie to say that I felt no closeness with him. Who would have thought that once the apocalypse came upon us, he would be gone just like that? Recalling how my loss of memory had guarded me against him, I was at once filled with guilt.
Lin-bó’s son was called Lin Mingjie. I even called him Jie-gē. He was not a stranger either. Although he was not as close as Lin-bó was, he was still closer to us than most. If he was still alive, he should definitely be welcomed into our mercenary group.
“Shuyu, are you all right? What are you thinking about? You’re frowning again. Is it confusing?” Dàgē asked with concern, “Are there any problems with having two different sets of memories?”
I thought for a bit before shaking my head. I didn’t think there were any problems. I felt like Guan Weijun who had lived halfway, then went cross-dressing as a guy to become Jiang Shuyu. It was just that the disguise was utterly thorough, as I had become an infant and started all over again, but in the end, it had been me the entire time.
At most, it is just that the me who recovered my memories will be more like a guy… Probably, maybe?
“Are you sure?” Dàgē’s voice was curious and he asked, “So, do you like men or women more?”
…That’s a good question.
I opened my mouth, yet I couldn’t give an answer. When I was purely Jiang Shuyu, I had definitely liked women, or else I wouldn’t have agreed to meet with Miao Xiangling, resulting in my getting hit by a tile, but now…
I looked at Dàgē’s chest and abs. Although the weather had become a lot colder, he didn’t have that much on. For the top half, he was just wearing a black T-shirt that was on the tight end, which sat really well with his figure and showed off his bulk. The outline of his muscles was very clear. Wide shoulders, thick chest, narrow waist, long legs—ah, the temperature feels like summer.
As for women, all of a sudden, Jin Feng’s massive chest flashed across my mind. Her thin waist had not an ounce of excess fat, yet she was definitely not paper thin. If you peeled away her clothes, I bet you’d see v-line abs! And her hair that was pulled back into a high ponytail swept left and right across her compact and strong shoulders—Wait a minute, this is no longer a question about orientation. I’ve simply became a huge pervert!
And a pervert that makes no distinction between men and women. Fuck. This is way too horrifying! I was so scared that I hurriedly dragged my perverted thoughts back from their wild prancing. From today onwards, I promise that I will be an upright gentleman!
“I don’t know.” I stiffened my face and turned away from Dàgē’s muscles—I’m not looking, I’m not!—I said in a rough voice, “The most important thing right now is to practice and become more powerful so we can live peacefully in this apocalypse. That’s why, I’m definitely not going to get in a relationship with a girl within the next two years… And definitely not with a guy either!”
Dàgē gave a laugh, smiling as he said, “Don’t worry. Dàgē will protect you guys. Getting into a relationship is no big deal.”
This Dàgē wants me to get into a relationship. That Dàgē doesn’t want me to get into a relationship too early. Are you guys even the same person?
I paused for a moment. I hadn’t said anything about the Ice Emperor yet. I really didn’t know how much I should say. Letting Dàgē know that there existed another him from a parallel world who had dragged the whole JDT—dying one after another, until only Lily was left— in order to return home. In the end, he abandoned her as well and even abandoned all of humanity. Can I even talk about this?
Even though the Dàgē before me hadn’t done any of that, if I hadn’t recovered Guan Weijun’s memories, hadn’t called Dàgē back before the apocalypse, then he might have been another Ice Emperor. After all, they were the same person. If they lived through the same situation, then I was afraid he would have made the same choice.
Letting Dàgē know that he could have done something like that doesn’t feel right. He probably can’t avoid feeling guilt toward the JDT then. That would definitely affect his judgment.
“Shuyu?” Dàgē looked at me in incomprehension. He then anxiously asked, “What are you thinking about? Why do you look so serious?”
This bad habit of wearing my feelings on my face hasn’t changed even after two lifetimes, so it’s probably hopeless. I felt a bit saddened that I would never become a movie star. I changed the topic and prodded, “I’m all right. I accidentally thought of Lin-bó. Sigh. Forget it. The dead have already departed. Dàgē, let me take a look at your power.”
Shujun had only said the way Dàgē had killed Chen Qianru was weird. To use “weird” to describe the way of killing someone, it could be none other than an ability.
Dàgē smiled a bit. He picked up the tree trunk that he had tossed aside and flung it into the air. Then, with a wave of his hand, the whole trunk disintegrated into particles. My eyes popped. I looked down, yet there wasn’t a single speck on the ground… What the hell!
“I’m not done.”
Dàgē lazily lifted both hands. Some dust-like matter gradually whirled together, forming some unknown entity at first. Then, as it got bigger, I could see that it was a piece of bark, then a twig, then a branch…
Finally, the piece of trunk appeared once more.
What… the… hell…