(Planet Cthelen- Hive City)

(Subsection Alpha Quadrant- Private Upper Gardens)

At the top of certain buildings in the hive city there were floating oases of life.

They were suspended above the ground in defiance of gravity using magnetic fluctuations to hold them in place.

The size of these gardens varied but most were around the size of a football field with additional sections that could be joined together to create more space.

A handsome young man sat down quietly on a bench and looked up at the clear blue sky.

A soft and gentle breeze brushed against his face which made his curly hair ripple ever so slightly.

He possessed perfectly sculptured facial features such as his sharp eyebrows, a chiseled jawline and piercing green eyes.

His body was lean but muscular and one could see the outline of his incredible physique against the simple white shirt and black pants that he wore.

A pair of sunglasses hung on the centre of his shirt, and he exuded an aura of relaxation and confidence.

There was no one else in the gardens except for the young man.

He was alone in his thoughts amidst a sea of brightly coloured flowers and palm trees whose leafy branches shaded him from the glaring sunlight.

The only sounds came from the bubbling of the artificial river that flowed straight through the middle of the garden and into small lakes.

Prince Theseus let out a heavy sigh and ran his fingers through his curly hair. He caught a glimpse of himself in the reflection of a nearby pool.

For a moment he stared at his mirror image with the expression that one would have when looking at a stranger.

Maybe it was because his appearance did belong to a stranger…

(No… don't think like that.)

(You have his memories… you studied his personality… his mannerisms… you watched all of his speeches, and no one has suspected anything.)

(Even his own mother can't tell that her son has been replaced.)

Prince Theseus leaned back against the bench and closed his eyes. Sometimes he had difficulty separating himself from his late brother.

The real crown prince who was dead.

He was nothing but a fake. An imposer who had stolen the identity of his brother and was now living the life of a lie.

All for the glorious cause of his master…

Prince Theseus reached into his pocket and pulled out a small metalloid device. He opened his eyes and tapped a button on the side of the device.

A holographic window projected outwards into the air directly in front of him. The crown prince flicked his fingers across the projection and tapped on a certain contact.

The screen shifted slightly and then a middle-aged woman with greying hair appeared on the other side.

She wore a tailored blazer with sleek lines that accentuated her curvy silhouette. The blazer was a dark grey colour and meshed quite well with her sharp trouser pants.

"Mrs. Rutherford… I take it that the shipments of lorvern dust have been delivered on time," Prince Theseus asked with a playful glint in his eyes.

"Of course, sir!" the woman quickly replied as the screen split into two sections.

On one side the video displayed the woman and on the other side was the logo of the company that she worked for.


Vanguard Mineral Transport Ltd.

A perfectly legitimate company that served as the cover for his contact with his master.

It was far too risky to speak frankly within earshot of the Imperial Family's guardian, so this method was the best way to convey information using codewords and doublespeak.

"You can inform the CEO that the first round of the tournament has gone well and there should be no unexpected surprises," Prince Theseus continued to speak in a calm tone.

"Please let him know that I have yet to succeed in giving out the free samples of our goods to certain noble families."

"Kry'en crystals are very expensive, so I only have enough to maintain the current supply line to our existing customers and few new ones."

The middle-aged woman nodded and then the call was ended. Prince Theseus placed the device back in his pocket and furrowed his brows.

The first round had been easy.

A qi tide opponent was nothing compared to a void stage cultivator, but he had been watching the results of the other fights.

There were some dangerous individuals in the royal family and even with the power of his master… he needed to be careful.

Especially if he ended up facing against that demon.

Prince Theseus shuddered as he recalled the results of a fight where the defeated combatant's body had been torn apart into dozens of pieces.

The worst part about the sight were the horrific bite marks on the corpse.

He hoped that someone would put that mad dog down. There was no way that the next leader of the Imperial Family could be such a mad person.

"Come out," Prince Theseus suddenly spoke as he turned towards the edge of the garden where some grasses were rustling softly in the breeze.

"My… my brother… your senses are really sharp!" a clear voice giggled, and her bell-like laughter echoed through the garden.

A pretty woman wearing a vibrant coloured dress with a long and flowery tail stepped out from behind the tall grass.

Layers upon layers of ruffles fluttered magically in the breeze and her piercing green eyes shone with innocence and happiness.

A golden tiara rested lightly on her forehead, and it was covered in precious stone and rare jewels that were worth a fortune.

Her appearance resembled that of a magical fairy straight from a folklore tale.

The tension in the crown prince's chest immediately melted away as he felt a surge of relief.

(Thank goodness… it was not…)

"Princess Victoria… my dear sister," Prince Theseus smiled as he stretched out his hands and the princess ran over and gave him a big bear hug.

"What a welcome surprise… to what do I owe the pleasure?"

Princess Victoria fidgeted with her hands as she leaned in closer until her lips were mere inches away from her half brother's.

"I… I need… them…" Princess Victoria's breath hitched as her eyes appeared glassy and unfocused as if she was in a daze.

"Please… I need… I need more… I'm begging you… they look so pretty…"

Prince Theseus smiled and reached into his storage ring. He pulled out several ruby-like gems that shone with an eerie glow.

Princess Victoria grabbed the gems quickly and let out a moan of pleasure was one of the gems began to warm up in her palm.

The crystal instantly melted, and the reddish liquid was quickly absorbed into her skin without a single trace.

Her eyes briefly turned completely white before returning back to their normal green hue.

"Did you enjoy the souvenirs that I got for you?" Prince Theseus spoke nonchalantly just in case the guardian was listening.

"Yes! Thank you big brother!" Princess Victoria squealed in delight as she pulled her older sibling in for an even tighter hug.

"I'm glad you liked them," Prince Theseus gently spoke as he stroked his younger half sister's back with soothing motions.

"But you know… I think someone would like them just as much as you do…"

"Who?" Princess Victoria asked with a confused look on her face.

"One of our dear siblings…" Prince Theseus continued to speak in a soft and warm tone that made the princess feel safe and relaxed.

"Cleo Sisrelis."