When Oleg reached the location sent by his spies, the rest of them also gathered there. Through some basic probing, they felt a space membrane in the nearby space.

"Go in!" Oleg ordered.

A rank 4 prisoner activated his gravity power and the space around him began to twist.

A second later, the entrance to what most humans would recognize as a secret realm appeared. Without hesitation, the rank 4 prisoner stepped inside. Nine more rank 4s rushed after him.

The first thing they noticed was the anceint buildings of this place.

Secret realms were left overs from the devas. Of course, they were ancient. While most humans weren't able to tell how special they were, Zions were different.

"Boss, this is a place where powerful celestial rankers once lived!" A prisoner exclaimed.

The rank 6 scout following the ten prisoners nodded slightly and said. "Continue."

The prisoners searched through a few forests, a couple of deserts, and a dozen ruins of what were presumably cities. And they finally stopped in front of a large pyramid.

Unlike the rest, this one had fresh auras.

Someone had been to this place in the last two weeks. Did they leave? Or was someone still here?

"B-Boss." The prisoner who rushed into the secret realm first called out in a trembling voice. "R-Rank 6 or maybe more, boss. I-It's dangerous."

"Alright. You don't have to take the risk." The scout said.

"Thanks, Boss!" The prisoner's eyes brightened and for the first time in his life, he began to look at another sentient being as nearly his equal and not someone he would kill if he had the power.

The scout didn't know that he turned into a serial killer who saw everyone as insects to be trampled into a half-decent person.

It was a miracle of miracles. If the story was to be published, this point would be the redemption arc.

"Since you don't want to go in and risk your life, die here and don't risk it." The scout's cold voice rang.

A spear tore through the air and struck the prisoner's head. It exploded like a watermelon.

The blood and brain matter splattered on the remaining nine prisoners who stood stupefied.

Sure, they were all death row prisoners. But not all of them were here for violence. In fact, a significant number of them were here due to financial fraud.

This scene frightened the heck out of them and without any further word, the nine ran into the cube, as if they were running lives.

The scout who cleaned his spear and sneered. "Violence is not the answer. It's the question and the answer is yes."

The cube had only one entrance which shut off after the nine prisoners rushed in. The hallway split into left and right at the end with only sleek white walls on either side without any rooms or doors.

The prisoners tried to break the walls and open the shut-down door. But nothing worked.

[Guests? Oh guests! Pick right or pick left. Pick one and you might live. Pick two and you will die.]

Like a horror that came to life, they belatedly realized they were trapped there. The only way out was to move forward.

The next six hours could only be described as scenes straight out of a modern horror.

— — —

Prince Oleg waited outside the secret realm with his subordinates.

Instead of destroying the solar system or killing the kingdom's envoys, he instructed them to move with as much stealth as possible.

Alerting the kingdom wasn't good. And even if the envoys left, there's Centaurus nearby.

Oleg personally participated in the war all those years ago. Even though he withdrew early from this theater, he vividly remembered the valor of the Centaurians.

If nothing unlucky happened, those bastards would've regained their strength and might've gone even further.

Just like how Zions knew Centaurians, Centaurians knew Zions. They had special anti-stealth detection systems in place just for Zions.

So, even if anything remotely linked to Zion technology or lineage approached the region, Centaurians would know.

For that reason, Oleg didn't dare to send even spy drones to check out the duchy's current situation.

A few hours after the wait, an explosion sounded and a bloodied scout rushed out of the secret realm.

"P-Prince! Prince! You have to see this!"

Following him, Oleg jumped into the secret realm and reached a cube. Or what should've been a cube.

Now, it's just rubble alongside heaps of flesh, bone, and puddles of blood.

"All dead?" Oleg sneered.

"Yes, Sir."

"Worthless pieces of trash," Shaking his head, he scanned the area.

At the bottom of the rubble was a powerful formation in the form of a Black Rose pattern.

"Damn it! This is their secret base!" Oleg clenched his fist and waved his hand.

The invisible force of gravity acted on every sizable particle in the distance and levitated them to the eye's height.

Oleg found shards of metallic sheets with smeared characters. Presumably, they were documents containing some important information.

He also found the broken shards of communication crystals used for interstellar ranges. That's definitely something Black Rose had to use! And torn pieces of clothes made of a material that's specially used for disguise!

There's no doubt that this was a secret base! But they blew it up without finding anything!

As Oleg was growing frustrated, another scout rushed in."S-Sir, we found two more secret bases!"

"Let's go! Do it right this time! Not ten, send twenty prisoners in!" Oleg commanded with renewed hope.




The bases once again exploded.

Even though none of the scouts died, fifty prisoners were dead. The remaining fifty were shivering in fear, their morale was dealt a disastrous blow.

"Fuck! Fuck!" Oleg clutched his hair, not caring about their state.

"Sir, we swept almost the whole area, and we found two more!"

This time, Oleg decided to send in two rank 6s along with forty prisoners.

Luck should finally favor him.

…It would have.

"W-Who are you?"

In one of the so-called bases which were filled with lethal traps in a maze-like structure, a rank 6 scout finally reached the end.

But what greeted him was not the expected room with all the secret materials that would reveal the details of where the Black Rose assassins might be.

It was a young man with a smug smirk.

"The mastermind behind this masterpiece." Varian raised his sword and a red light blinded the scout's vision.

"Go in peace. Everyone that came with you will follow."

That was the last thing he heard before everything went dark.