'No. The fact that I proposed countless bodies to you and you always refused. Now that Tista said the very same thing you are considering the idea?'
'Only idiots never change their minds. Yours was the right idea at the wrong moment.' Solus replied. 'We'll think about it after the military. I can't have you defect. Also, thanks for delaying your departure until spring.'
'You're welcome. Tista is your first human friend, you two deserved some time together. I love you both and I'm happy you found a good friend in each other.'
"Name?" The army clerk's harsh voice interrupted their conversation. The woman loved her job, but repeating the same lines over and over ruined her mood.
"Oh, gods!" When she inserted a name into her amulet, the clerk was used either having to fill out a form or finding a short resume if the candidate was a noble. In Lith's case, so much information popped out of her screen that she thought he had a rap sheet as long as her arm.
She was about to call security when she noticed they were actually meritorious deeds.
"Son, are you sure you want to join?" She stood up giving him the salute.
"Why do you ask?" Lith lifted an eyebrow in confusion.
"Only spoiled rich kids enlist in spring. Your timing is terrible, not to mention that with your build there is no chance in the netherworld other cadets will see you as anything but a noble."
"I'm fully prepared for that. I'm not enlisting to make friends, but thanks for your concern anyway. Much appreciated." Lith returned the salute and offered her his hand, which she promptly shook.
"No, thank you. You are one of us that made it. A commoner that graduated from one of the six academies and even received his last name from the Royals. You are a beacon of hope for my children."
Xonta, that was the clerk's name, filled out Lith's form while giving him the same advice Orion did and warning him about all the dangers he was likely to face.
Lith nodded from time to time, giving her the empty dimensional amulet that he had prepared when asked.
"From now on, you're only allowed to introduce yourself as Lith, cadet 1416. The use of any kind of magic outside of chore magic is forbidden except for protecting your life or that of others. I also need your communication amulet."
"Why?" Lith asked while doing as instructed.
"Contacting anyone outside training is forbidden for the next six months, but we are not monsters. This way if something bad happens, we can relay the information to you."
Lith was unpleasantly surprised the army was able to operate someone else's amulet without their permission.
'Note to self, Forgemaster another amulet with safeguards.' He thought.
'Done. Do you want sugar or milk with your coffee, mister CEO?' Solus giggled after performing her best secretary impression.
Xonta led Lith to a changing room before giving him his uniform and boots. It consisted of a deep green shirt and pants. They were made of a thin but robust fabric Lith had never seen before.
The service number was embroidered over his heart and was the only thing bearing an enchantment. As soon as he finished wearing them, a soldier accompanied him to a Warp Gate.
"The destination is random." He explained. "It will lead you to one of the farthest available boot camps from here. Don't wander around and wait for someone to pick you up."
Lith stepped through the portal, finding himself in a place where the climate was much colder than Derios's. A cold wind blew over his face carrying the smells typical of winter. Spring had yet to reach that region. Luckily, the uniform turned out to be pretty warm.
'Either that or my tolerance to cold has further improved.' During the last two years, Lith had used Accumulation almost non stop. His mana core was now bright cyan, it was only a matter of time before it was refined to blue.
After each breakthrough, his body had become stronger, to the point that most of the things that would threaten a normal man's life were merely a bother to him. Normal weapons couldn't cut his skin, just like normal fire and cold left him unfazed.
The camp was the size of a small city and was filled with barracks, depots, and outside training facilities. The spot Lith appeared was close to a stone building, but no one came to him.
Lith stood there for more than half an hour, using Accumulation to kill time.
Two men with uniforms similar to Lith's but heavier and with the rank of corporal came out of the building. They were both in their mid twenties and looked at him with a mix of surprise and worry.
"Good gods, this one is huge!" The corporals were above average height, making them 15 centimeters (6") shorter than Lith.
"Kid, why didn't you come inside? The standard uniform is too light for Grimatros's climate. Aren't you freezing out here?"
Lith gave them the salute before answering.
"I'm as green as a grassland. They told me to wait and so I did. The cold doesn't bother me, sir."
The man on the left laughed at his words, while the one on the right facepalmed himself.
"Just because you joined the army doesn't mean you must relinquish common sense. You could have at least knocked and asked for directions. Despite what you might have heard, playing pranks on the cadets it's not part of our job."
They led Lith inside and gave him a change of clothes before accompanying him to the cadets' quarters. Along the road, Lith noticed that the housings were split into two. A block for the male soldiers and another for the female.
The house assigned to him was quite spacious, but consisted of a single room. Aside from beds and lockers, it was empty.
"This is where you'll live for the next six months unless you find someone willing to house you." One of the corporals explained.
"Pick an empty bed and a locker as your own. You can imprint them like this." He moved his hand over the service number, releasing a bit of mana. It generated a small golden cloud that followed the corporal's hand.
"You have to imprint every tool and personal item you'll receive. It will be your responsibility to take good care of them. Someone will be here shortly to give you and the other new recruits a tour of the camp and explain the basic rules.
"I suggest that you use this time to get acquainted with the rest of the cadets."
They pointed at a small group of youths. They were all about Lith's age, but shorter and lighter. They looked at him emitting grunting noises and whispering mean words.
'Seems Xonta was right. They really believe I'm a noble.' Lith smiled in amusement.
"Look what the spring fairy brought in, a goddamn noble." Said a cadet of average height with a mean voice. He walked towards Lith like he owned the place. The others were about to follow suit, but something blocked them.
Lith had learned to control his killing intent, which was paralyzing everyone but the leader of the pack.
"Listen well, sh*thead I'm Liwell…" The words died in his mouth when Lith lifted him up by his throat with one hand, bringing his face close to his own.
"Thanks, Liwell. When were you born? It's the only other thing I need to know for your gravestone."