\t"Did you really think we wouldn't notice?" Marcus held out the scroll that Reginald gave them. He paused and waited for excuses. Frey fidgeted in his chair. He kept looking to Doevm and Marcus, expecting someone to come up with a reason for him. Marcus smiled internally, 'He's the weakest. He'll break first. The other one looks like a stone. He must be the leader.' He walked in front of Frey and shoved the paper in his face. "What reason do you have for this?"
\t"I-I don't," Frey stuttered out. "Know what you're talking about. What are you saying? Did we do something wrong by coming here?"
\t"You know full well what you did," Marcus shoved him against the wall. "You're just too proud to say it, or are you too embarrassed? Just tell me already. We all know what happened."
\t"I'm just an ordinary commoner," Frey kept gushing information out, "I don't know anything about this war or the draft. I just got here."
\t'Frey, he's trying to break you,' Doevm thought. He couldn't say that out loud. He knew about mind games from watching humans. If he did reveal that he knew, he would be under more suspicion and even tortured. He was, after all, supposed to be a normal commoner. Marcus was referring to nothing. This whole room and situation are a bluff to break the minds of new recruits and get secrets out of them. After interrogation, the recruits would be put within a unit with similar-minded people for synergy among units. Marcus had probably done this hundreds of times and Frey had no idea.
\t"You're a terrible liar," Marcus barked. "In ten minutes, my real interrogator is going to get here. I'm just the warm-up. It will be a whole lot less painful if you tell me now."
\tIf Frey broke and their identity as guards were revealed, Doevm had no idea what their punishment would be. Even with all his knowledge, there were still some things he didn't know of. He went over a general list of what was in his bag and what Marcus could infer from them. The two spacial rings would be the biggest tell, although nothing valuable was in them. Their weapons were special, but no normal person could notice their quality. Next to the spacial rings, the unreasonable amount of weapons and equipment were hard to justify.
\tDoevm frowned, 'This possibly isn't an act. He could have inferred we are not normal commoners. I don't know the price of spacial rings. After a hundred years, their price could have decreased or increased. I don't have time to form a proper guess based on my prior knowledge.' He went deep into his thoughts and his frown got worse.
\tMarcus must have noticed his distraught expression because he left Frey and got in Doevm's face. "You look like you're reasonable. Why don't you just tell me? If you do, I'll make sure you get out of here unharmed."
\t"What about Frey?" Doevm asked, already knowing the answer.
\t"I can't make any promises about him," Marcus shrugged. "With both your crimes, I have no idea as to your punishments."
\t'He hasn't made any concrete statements yet. Ten minutes, unharmed, and holding up a normal scroll with a drafting notice; all of these are unintentional clues. Ten minutes is the limit to Marcus's time. I'm guessing if we don't confess to anything it will be suspicious. We must either confess to a small false crime and hope for the best outcome or pretend to cry so we have an excuse to give no response. If we do cry, however, we'll be put in a squad with people whom this process also broke. I don't want to be a part of a weak squad, so it looks like I must take the confession route. Why didn't I memorize anything on human laws?'
He cast his mind back to the Virility library. He had read every book and knew of their location. When he thought of the library, it was as if he were standing there. He could clearly see Reginald writing at his desk, talking about how well Thomas had done on his day of training. The guards were training without him in the front of the mansion. He went down the volumes until he came across a book titled: Laws of the Acrin Kingdom and how nobles can get out of them. Flipping to page fifty, were the crimes and the fees for committing each.
'I have my list of crimes, now I need one that suits my desired squad. It's like I get to scroll through a catalogue of where I want to be placed. This is the best interrogation ever.' Each thought was a fraction of a second in real time. 'I need one that will take risks. In this war, it won't be like an experiment or meditation. I need to grow my life essence through pushing myself. The crime that reflects risky behavior is thievery, but I don't want anyone stealing my equipment. I guess I'll choose something else...'
Doevm shifted in his chair like Frey. Since the area was hot, it was easy to pretend he was in a nervous sweat. He avoided Marcus's eyes as he said, "I guess I can't avoid it."
"What was that?" Marcus leaned his ear closer, "What did you do?"
"Doevm, don't do it!" Frey yelled as he fought his restraints.
"It's ok Frey, he already knew from the beginning. It was only a matter of time. It'll be easier like this." Doevm put on a sad smile. "We-we," He paused for dramatic effect. "We used the draft to run away from our debt." He cast his head down and hoped that Frey would play along. "We tried to gamble with our lord to keep our house. He cheated and we lost everything. Just when we were about to be put in chains, the draft showed up. We stole equipment and ran. The war monk found us and gave us a ride. I'm sorry, please don't send me back." Marcus looked at Frey, who copied the act.
"Don't worry," He put a hand on Doevm's shoulder. "This was just a test we put all the new recruits through. We're not going to send you back. Like I said earlier, we need all the men we can get." He pulled out a dagger and cut Doevm loose. As he turned around to let Frey loose, Doevm took a deep breath. He wiped drops of sweat up and dripped them into his eyes. Resisting the urge to scream, he let the emotionless tears drip down his cheeks.
"Thank you, Marcus." He bowed. "I will always remember this."
"Don't worry about it and call me Captain Marcus. You're under my command from now on." He cut Frey loose, who was slack jawed at Doevm's display.
"T-Thank you Captain Marcus." Frey bowed only his head since the rest of his body was still strapped down. Marcus cut him loose as well.
"Your equipment is right outside the hut, go get it and explore the base. You'll all be called by the end of the day into squad..." He his armored chin. "Six." Doevm pulled Frey away before he could ask any questions.
\t"Did that satisfy you?" Marcus asked. The shadows of the hut morphed. Light returned to the room, revealing Ashtehar and Oliver in the corner.
\t"No," Ashtehar growled.
\t"Then I'm sorry Ashtehar, that was as far as I'm allowed to interrogate the recruits. Any further and I would get reprimanded."
\t"I'm not dissatisfied because you were inadequate." Ashtehar glared outside the hut at the two figures hurrying away. "I'm dissatisfied because my suspicions were correct." Before Marcus could say anything else, the two robed men left the room.
\t'What a bunch of strange people,' Marcus thought. 'Mages are always weird though; the general says I shouldn't question them too much and just do as they ask. This whole situation does pique my curiosity though. I will have to investigate Doevm and Frey in the future. This whole war is boring. I need something to entertain me, and I think I've found the perfect people for the job. I even put them in squad six. With the type of people there, I can't wait until the first battle.'