As expected of cells meant to contain modest-sized phase lords, the walls of the cells were meters thick in every direction.

Both Ves, Ketis and Gloriana all had their companion spirits move further and further away from the cell, only to encounter the same monotonous transphasic stone material with no hint of interruption.

Ves had to send out Blinky a bit further than was usual in human-built facilities to finally enter a corridor.

The Star Cat blinked as the incarnation curiously looked around.

The corridor of the ancient alien facility looked as dull and plain as the cell where Ves and his clansmen were stuck in. Whether the alien builders did not bother with any ornamentation or whether all of the softer perishable materials had all decayed or worn out many ages in the past, Ves could not say for certain.

The barren corridor did not bode well to him. The lack of any systems or complications meant that there were no obvious switches or buttons that could open up a convenient exit to his cell.

He still commanded Blinky to explore a bit further. Though the cat was steadily approaching the limit of how far he was able to move away from Ves, the distance was still extensive enough to cross into the cell on the opposite side of the corridor if he wanted.

He did just that.

Ves had already confirmed that there weren't any clansmen in the opposite cell, so he made sure that Blinky slowed down and approached cautiously lest his sudden emergency caused him to be treated as a hostile entity.

As Blinky finally moved close enough to poke his eye through one of the corners of the cell, the cat was able to observe a group of familiar-looking people in dress uniforms.

The directors, top management and star doctors of Freewell Medical Services had responded as well as they could to this latest crisis.

None of them fell into panic or confusion. They forcibly kept themselves and each other calm while their best speakers sought to communicate with their captors.

Ves did not bother making contact with this group. They were just a bunch of civilians with not a single weapon or serious combatant among them. They also lacked the knowledge or skills to facilitate an escape attempt.

Ves instead sent Blinky onwards. The cat could pass through the solid walls and take a peek at other adjacent cells within his current range.

A few more cells contained random prisoners that he recognized from Block L, so they were clearly placed here based on proximity.

He even found a few more groups of Larkinsons, among whom were mech pilots who possessed combat training and could be useful in a fight.

That was important in any breakout attempt as his cell was sorely lacking in combat capable personnel at the moment.

With the exception of Ketis, Lucky, Clixie and General Verle, none of the others looked like they could put up a good fight, especially if they lacked the right gear.

While there were retired military officers such as Chief Minister Abigail Evern and Chief Minister Magdalena Larkinson among the crowd, these older clansmen had left their glory days behind a long time ago. They may be able to shoot a gun and such, but their combat effectiveness was not comparable to one of his infantry troopers.

"Hmmm. My honor guards are located a bit further away. That is inconvenient."

Goldie knew where everyone was located and informed him that his honor guards were stashed in a different part of this expansive pocket space facility.

Ves would first have to break out of this cell before making his way down several corridors before trying to breach another cell.

Though he definitely intended to do just that and strengthen his hand, he first had to complete the first step, which was getting out of this stupid cage!

After examining the surroundings for a few more minutes, Ves, Ketis and Gloriana each reported their respective findings.

"These air vents are not connected to any other cells." Gloriana reported first. "There does not appear to be any active ventilation systems either. The alien air mixture is passively sent through the channels through the use of gravity until it emerges directly into our cells. There are other air vents built into the corners of this floor that ensure that air continues to circulate."

Alexandria hadn't been able to find out more as the red companion spirit had reached the limit of her range before she could reach the end of the miniscule upper ventilation shafts.

"Ketis?" Ves asked as he turned to the Swordmaiden.

"The structural integrity of the floors are just as hard and solid as the walls. If there are any cells below our feet, I am not certain they are there as Sharpie hasn't been able to go any further."

"Sharp… Sharp… Sharp…" The tiny companion spirit in the shape of Ketis listlessly repeated.

"Is there any conceivable way you can think of breaking through this stone material with a good sword?"

Ketis frowned for a moment. "If I had my Bloodsinger or a comparable weapon, then I am confident I can cut through half a meter of this material if I go all out. I don't think I can do much more than that unless I have rested for at least a full day."

That was better than Ves expected, but it was still not sufficient.

"Do you think that my Amastendira can drill a hole through this stone material?"

A few of the old-timers did not look surprised when Ves mentioned the name of his most powerful personal weapon, but the ones who had joined the clan later on looked completely clueless.

Ketis had been with the clan long enough to know what he meant.

"Maybe you should ask Sara Voiken, but in my opinion transphasic weapons should already have a hard time damaging this tough material. A weapon that is not enhanced by phasewater should fare even worse. You will exhaust the energy reserves of your gun before you can produce more than a shallow groove into the wall."

He agreed with her assessment. This was also why he didn't bother materializing the weapon in the first place.

Gloriana looked concerned. "What do we do, then? We cannot remain stuck here. Either our captors will come and use us for their own ends, or we will remain isolated here for a long period of time. What if there is no food or water supply? How will we take care of our long-term hygiene needs?!"

"I am pretty sure that whoever bothered to kidnap us and the other VIPs at the founding ceremony has plans for us. They would have taken advantage of the lack of spatial inhibition to teleport bombs at our coordinates if killing us was their objective." Ves said. "We are not worth as much if we are all dead. Only by keeping us alive will our abductors be able to leverage us against Davute and our respective organizations."

"That is a logical argument, Ves, but not everyone acts rationally."

"I know that all too well, honey, but this scheme is so advanced that I am pretty sure that our captors did not decide to reveal the existence of this pocket space on a whim."

They had too little information about their captors to make too many guesses about their motives, but Ves already had a decent idea of what he was dealing with. He looked towards Chief Minister Novilon Purnesse and Minister Shederin Purnesse.

The father-and-son duo had been swapping their own ideas and theories for a while now. They too had been able to come up with a few plausible ideas on what sort of scheme they had been caught in. Whoever controlled this facility had a greater purpose in mind.

Ves could only hope that working towards this purpose distracted the abducting party long enough for him to launch a breakout attempt.

He turned his attention to this priority.

"Given the way this place is constructed, I highly doubt we are being actively monitored or tracked. At most, there are penetrating sensors in operation that solely track us based on our mass, heat, neural activity or whatever."

Ketis concurred with his opinion. "The lack of antigrav modules, security systems, riot suppression systems and most importantly a method to transport food signifies that this is not a prison in a human sense. If it is designed to hold phase lords, then the priority lies in containing their incredible power. Ves, do you remember the unclean whale we found at the center of the Palace of Shame?"

"I do." Ves spoke.

"Did you notice that the giant prisoner was not only shackled in place, but had also been put into a state of hibernation for several centuries. While the whale obviously did not regain his peak strength shortly after breaking out of the asteroid base, he was clearly able to leverage enough strength to put up a fight against seven ace mechs!"

Ves widened his eyes. He understood the message that she was trying to convey.

Although the word 'phase lord' was a term that the Big Two had come up with to demystify the existence of native gods, their biologies had evolved so much that they couldn't be treated as ordinary organisms anymore!

This was due to the amazing properties of phasewater. The substance actually existed in more dimensions than normal. By gaining a foothold in energy-rich dimensions, phasewater was able to passively power its amazing spatial effects.

The actual explanation was a lot deeper and more complex than that as it involved advanced physics and convoluted math that hardly anyone bothered to study before. It was a large part why so many human scientists needed so much time just to get a grip on this liquid exotic and its many possibilities.

However, for now all Ves needed to know was that phasewater could largely meet the energy needs of powerful physical lifeforms.

This was why phase whales and more formidable phase lords whose bodies were actually a lot larger and more massive than they appeared on the surface did not need to eat just as much food.

Phasewater already supplied them with much of the energy needed to sustain their oversized bodies, therefore allowing them to get by with less conventional input!

Of course, if any phase lord happened to get trapped in a barren place like this cell for a long time, then such a powerful figure had no choice but to hibernate and minimize as much body activity as possible in order to avoid starvation.

"Generally speaking, the greater the concentration of phasewater in the blood, the longer a phase lord can survive." Ves spoke. "If this phase prison was built to contain the more formidable among them, then it truly isn't necessary to build all of those unnecessary elements. Each one introduces another weak point that a resourceful phase lord can exploit in order to break out of this prison!"

As mech designers and engineers, Ves and his colleagues were easily able to derive clues about their prison by putting themselves in the perspective of its builders or owners.

It was clear that both groups only cared about keeping its prisoners in place as much as possible!

"Seeing as there are no seams or any mechanisms that can open up any cavities, the only way that anything can go in and out is through teleportation." Gloriana concluded. "This sounds counterintuitive because this entire pocket space facility appears to be built to inhibit phase lords from utilizing their phasewater-derived abilities, and teleportation is definitely a known spatial ability that they can perform as long as they learn the right techniques. How is it possible for the operators of this prison to teleport us despite the heavy interference of all of these walls?"

That stumped the mech designers. Though most of them had already started to study phasewater theory, their understanding of this field was still relatively shallow. There was no way they could equal the knowledge of that of a native phasewater engineer!

Ves was a bit of an exception in this regard. As a human who recently stepped onto the path of a phase lord himself, his instinctive and theoretical understanding of phasewater had risen by leaps and bounds!

He looked around for a moment before presenting his answer.

"Teleportation is still possible as long as it takes place over the right frequency."


The others looked as if he had spoken an alien language.