[A Command To Kill Two Zions]

It didn't explain the reason. Only the targets, including the method of intimidation.

[Resources Available For Mission]

The secret bases were mentioned clearly. If the information was to be believed, this was the last base.

And they were to be abandoned after Phase 1! So, that's why he couldn't find any assassins in the bases so far!

This base was to be used in case any member had to recuperate.

'So I killed an injured assassin? That too one of the weakest?' Oleg's expression crumbled.

[Phase Two]

"This…" Oleg's shoulders stiffened as he looked through the document. Phase 2 referred to assassination of Zion Emperor.

Except stating that it'd happen within 4 weeks of Phase 1, there was nothing else. The assasins who vacated the secret bases would attack Zion duchy sooner or later.

"I have to find them! At any costs!" Oleg clenched his fists.

But he soon loosened his fists and drooped his shoulders. He promised to himself and his father he alone could take care of this mission.

Even though he was only the leader of scouts, if he finished the mission, there was no need for the actual team to come up.

Yet, his strength proved insufficient.

Oleg didn't think he could face three such assassins in a frontal fight. Forget victory, his chances of survival were low if he faced five of them.

With a heavy heart, Oleg returned to his spaceship and contacted his father. Ironically, his father wasn't recieving any communication at the moment.

It was delegated to his fathor's favorite woman, the 13th concubine, Barbara.

"Ola? No, Oli? What's the matter?" Her voice was husky, cocky and aloof.

Even though they were talking through interstellar distance, Oleg could feel her mocking gaze and haughty expression.

Taking a deep breath, he spat. "It's Oleg."

"Oh, Leg? Right, right. What's the matter?"

"I need to speak to my father."

"Me attending this call should have told you something. Or is it a bit too hard for you to understand? Aren't you a hundred years older than me too? Senile already?." Her words were soft, and sympathetic and seemed genuine.

'This bitch!'

Veins popped up on Oleg's forehead and he came too close to smashing the communication crystal.

"The scouting here is completed. The attack will be launched from here. I request reinforcements."

"Oh. You can't even do something so simple?" She chuckled lightly but that laughter pierced into his heart like shards of glass.

"This is Black Rose. It's dangerous."

"Not for my son." Concubine Barbara's voice was filled with pride and confidence. "He'll do what you are incapable of. Do not worry. Your younger brother is coming to your res—."

Oleg cut off the call and slammed the wall. "That bastard isn't my brother! Who knows which bastard she conceived him with?!"

— — — —

Hazel opened her eyes in confusion.

The darkness that should've killed her somehow enveloped and protected her from the dangers.

It made no sense.

And what made even less sense was the man standing in front of her, watching her with an indifferent expression.

"You…" Hazel looked at him with a mix of hatred and fear. He's the reason she was pushed to this state.

"The Zions have a proud culture. They disdain to torture political prisoners through physical means. What they do like is seeing them break down mentally." Varian said.

"Do you think I'm crazy to believe such bullshit?" Hazel's throat was breaking as she had nothing to drink since her arrest. But she yelled anyway and as loud as she could.

"I've looked through the past 50-year prison records. I left the space crack for them to discover. There's a good chance you'd be sent as a death prisoner." Varian said and sighed.

"But I'm not going to pretend I had it all control. You could've been executed in the capital if someone's mood in the palace was slightly off. Your life hinged on a few people's moods."

"What grievances do you have with me? The past few days, I've been through hell! You monster! I thought you were a good person trying to help me but you're worse!"

Varian pursed his lips. "I don't like saying this, but the truth is you were a pawn in a great game. There's no other way I could've killed that prince. You were an indispensable pawn."

Hazel clenched her fists in indignation. She hated this. This type of lifestyle, worldview and culture—it was wrong!

But she's powerless. Even though she worked so hard to reach rank 2 at a young age, she's still hopelessly weak.

Controlling her emotions, she asked. "Why did you not let me die? What is this 'pawn' supposed to do?"

Varian tapped the space in front of him and it blinked.

The bleak ground they were standing on changed into a beautiful garden with fountains and flower beds.

The children of elves, sanguines, nymphs, and other races were playing nearby, their laughter filling the air.

Varian turned around and looked at the scenery with a strong gaze. "As compensation for the role you played and what's done to you, you can live in safety here."

"Is that pity?" Hazel was scared but her anger surpassed her fear. After throwing her life into jeopardy, this show of pity was disgusting.

As the highs of her anger faded, Hazel realized how foolish she had been to raise her voice at someone who could easily kill her. Her life was in dire risk.

Varian chuckled and shook his head. "I don't pity you at all."


"That's a problem, I know. I just don't feel any guilt." Varian looked at her and Hazel knew from his eyes that he was speaking the truth.

"I don't go out of my way to actively put others in danger. But if I do it, it's because that's the only way. For that, I feel no guilt. Because the casualties otherwise would be way worse." Varian explained.

"A good life from now on is my compensation. I'm doing it because it's the right thing to do, not because I pity you."

Hazel closed her eyes and exhaled deeply. "Can I return to my home?"

"I would advise against that. The region is going to be in turmoil, soon." Varian showed no doubt in his words.

"M-My people!"

Varian made no comment.

Hazel understood his stance. He wasn't trying to harm them actively. But if his plans need them to be harmed, he wouldn't bat an eyelid. Worse, he didn't even feel any guilt.

She could not persuade him through strength or morality. The only thing that appealed to this man she first mistaken for a good soul was interest.

"I can help with your plan, my whole race can! Give me a chance!" She pleaded.

Varian rubbed his chin. "Can you spy on Zions? It doesn't have to be something very secretive, but I need consistent updates."

"Yes, yes!" Hazel nodded frantically. "Zions treat my race as…inferiors. They don't even consider this possibility. I can ask my people to just sign up for menial jobs and do the searching!"

Varian gave it some thought. He didn't see much need for the help of Fairies. But having a local tribe help in a foreign location might come in handy.

"How do I trust—"

"Poison me or whatever. A lot of my people were used against abyssals and died. I don't want to see more of that genocide."

Varian nodded.

'A spy, huh.'