Morning in the forest was nearly the same as the day, with one exception: a fog enveloping everything. If one were to look from afar at the base, they would only see black outlines and nothing more. Doevm woke up at the same time every day -seven AM- and this day was no different. He winced as he got his shirt on. Since he couldn't go to the medical wing, he had to wait for his bruises to heal naturally. When he went outside his quarters, he found a note similar to the one from yesterday. It read: "Doevm, report to the training field as soon as you can." He yawned and stuffed the note in his pocket. Although he didn't want to listen to the note, he had nothing else to do. He walked along the bridges, making sure to glance around. While the nightlife had changed due to the increase in patrols, the daily life was still the same. Squads marched around pretending they were something more than civilians. Although they didn't match up to Doevm's soldiers, they were getting closer. When he made it to the training field, Wade and Frey were waiting for him.
"Morning Frey," Doevm said, "Did the healers fix everything?" Although he knew Frey was healthy, he couldn't help but feel like there was something different about him.
"Yeah, I'm all better." Frey said. He swung his arms around and stretched his legs as proof. "Don't worry about me." His smile was a little forced.
'I won't push him if he doesn't want to say anything,' Doevm thought.
Wade coughed twice: "You are both being assigned new men today. They are to report here in a couple of minutes. Now that I have relayed this duty, I need to go assist the captain." He waved them goodbye and hurried off.
The two waited there, trying to think of something to talk about. Now that Doevm thought about it, they had never really talked outside of training and fighting together. "Thank you," Frey was the first to break the silence.
"You know why, don't drag it out," Frey chuckled and pat his friend on the back. "I'll make sure to repay the favor one day."
"You'll have to wait a long time until I need help," Doevm said, then he hesitated before saying, "Now that we're alone, I need to tell you something." He turned to Frey. "No one can find out about this, do you understand?"
"I get it, now tell me what it is." Frey wanted to laugh, but his expression changed when he saw Doevm's face.
Doevm leaned closer: "Closer, I don't want anyone to hear." Frey listened and kneeled a little. He was so close that he could feel the other party's breath in his ear. "We're being watched. Don't trust anyone." Doevm stepped away and hid his face behind his hands like he had done something embarrassing. "Don't tell anyone ok?" He could tell that Frey wanted to look for who was watching them, so he shook his head and smiled.
"I-I got it," Frey said. "So how long has this been going on for?"
"I don't know." Doevm scratched the back of his head. "Ever since we got here. It has been too coincidental to call it an accident. It is more like something or someone has forced us to be like this. Think of what we've been through. It has all been so unlikely but here we are."
'Unlikely?' Frey thought. 'I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about! Why are you acting like this? The only unlikely things that have happened is getting attacked by a Manticore, ending up with those Von Trike assholes...then falling into the hole.' The past few week's events were turned into pieces that fit into a frame. He grasped what Doevm meant, but not the entire picture. 'Then we were reported dead.' Another piece fit into place. He didn't like the image that was forming. 'Wait a minute.' Before he had a chance to ask, the squads arrived. Doevm straightened himself and walked to one side of the training field.
"Everyone in squad six over to me!" He gathered everyone to him and began sorting them while Frey did the same with his own men. 'I can only tell you this much,' he thought. 'Hopefully you can realize what's going on.' When he looked over, Frey was focused on his own squad. He couldn't see inside the giant's head, so he just focused on his own task. 'It's not that I don't doubt you're intelligance, I just know from experience you lack the capabilities to be a spy, just like that time you tried to ask me where I learned how to fight.' He walked up and down the line of men and inspected each of them. He made them pull out their life essence. Even if the people in this base came from a farm, by now they had experienced death. It was weak, but every man there had life essence.
Doevm also got a little surprised. His own men had an overwhelming improvement compared to before. Their life essence had turned a darker green and there was more of a cloud than before. Hopi was about to break through to the red life essence level. This, however, made Doevm frown. 'If he gets too strong, he'll be assigned as a squad leader of another squad. I'll also lose my second in command.' Now that his forces were restored, he was back to the standard thirty men. This, however, meant more work for him. Each of his new men looked down on him because he was only fourteen. In their eyes, he was weak. They hadn't seen him take down a Manticore or navigate his way out of a den of Ghouls. To solidify his leadership, he needed to instill fear in them the only way he knew how.
"Men, get training equipment." The experienced group were quick to equip themselves with wooden weapons. The new men were slow and loud. They even had the balls to size him up with their eyes. Doevm grabbed a training spear and stood at the center of his side of the field. "Now, all of the new men, I realized I have yet to introduce myself. My name is Doevm. In fifteen seconds I am going to kick your asses. My old men can stand at the side and continue on with regular training."
The new men laughed, not realizing they were standing before a merciless bastard. They didn't even take a stance. They held their weapons in place. None of them were in any recognizable formation. While the old men spared, they occasionally glanced over to watch the show. A minute, that was how long it took for the new men to be on their knees. Doevm spared no effort to humiliate them. As soon as he ordered them up, he taught them the basics of fighting.
It didn't matter that Doevm only knew how to use a spear. He knew what a swordsmen stance was by remembering Arthur. He knew other weapons from people that had tried to kill him in the past. Of course, he didn't know everything. As for basic moves, he let his old men train the new ones. After drilling the basics, he made them learn the formations as well as do strange orders. The point of this was to reduce the hesitation in his men and increase their trust in him. He realized back at the fight with the Elves that immediate obedience was a strong quality. No matter what reasoning Doevm had behind his orders, he needed them to be carried out. The men couldn't see the inside of their squad leader's head. Hesitation could get them killed. Wade said it best: "When you have blood dripping off your sword and the enemy is staring you right in the face, let my voice ring like the words of the goddess."
After a long day of practice, the men headed to the river to wash up. Doevm had been pleased by their results. Even though they were new, the men learned quickly. At this rate, they could probably be a strong force by the time the large-scale battle came. Two weeks was more than enough time. Hje just had to rinse and repeat with them. Doevm washed up with them, but he didn't head to his room to rest. He had something he needed to take care of. 'It's time,' the Lich appeared. 'I waited all day so you wouldn't have to be exposed in the base. Now go to the cave.'
'I'm already on my way there if you would pay attention,' Doevm thought as he descended the elevator. 'I planned on facing you today. I wouldn't run away. I am agreeing with you. We need to settle this now.'
'You make it sound like you're going to defeat me today!' The Lich laughed as it floated around the forest. 'You have no idea what's going to happen.' It disappeared, probably reserving his strength for the upcoming battle.
While Doevm was careful every time, he had never encountered any enemies on the walk. It became a little relaxing. That all went away when he got back in his cave and meditated. It was day two of his training and he already felt twice as worse as yesterday. The Lich reappeared in front of him and circled him. 'It's time to start.' Doevm closed his eyes and braced himself.