Liwell turned pale and not just because Lith's words didn't sound like a joke. His lungs were burning, yearning for air, yet Lith's grip didn't let him take a single breath. He was enjoying the sight of his opponent turning red first and cyanotic later.
'No arrays nor recording devices, right Solus?' Lith asked, just to be safe.
'None. After all, there are only six great academies and countless boot camps. If they had the resources to allocate a power core in each one of them, the Griffon Kingdom would have long conquered Mogar.
'I don't think that committing murder on your first day is a good idea, though.'
Lith snarled, abruptly releasing Liwell and making him fall butt first onto the ground.
"Since we are going to live together under the same roof for the next six months, this time I'll let you go with a warning." Lith said while Liwell coughed and wheezed, gasping for air.
"I don't know who you are or why you hate nobles. Honestly, I don't care. I'm not a noble either, but the next time you or one of your friends mess with me again, I'll make sure it will also be the last."
Lith knew it was likely that no matter what he said things would get ugly. Yet Solus was right, he couldn't kill them all and hope to get away with it. The silver lining was that there was almost nothing a normal human could do to him whereas he had countless ways to make their lives a living hell.
Lith ignored their hateful gazes and chose a corner bed for himself. The imprinting process was simple. Once his mana activated the spell contained in the service number stitched on his chest, a small golden cloud followed his hand.
Lith's service number was now engraved on the bed frame and stitched to the blankets. He had no reason to pick a locker, since they were all empty.
"What the heck is going on here?" Asked a rough voice that made everyone turn around from Lith to the door. Standing there was a tough looking 1.75 (5'9") tall man in his mid thirties. Unlike the cadets, his uniform was light blue with Staff Sergeant stripes on his sleeves.
As soon as he entered the house, the Sergeant took off his wide-brimmed hat while looking around to assess the situation. There was one cadet sitting on the floor with a terrified expression on his face. Another one was walking around like he owned the place, while all the others were huddled up in a corner, like lambs facing a pack of wolves.
"Cadet Liwell, get your a*s up and pray the gods I like your explanation." The Sergeant had his name and service number embroidered on a pocket right above his chest. His name was Tepper.
"That guy's insane!" He replied pointing at Lith. "He attacked me for no reason and almost chocked me to death. Everyone here witnessed it."
Both Lith and Tepper didn't miss Liwell's voice getting higher, or him avoiding to make eye contact. Not to mention that his story sounded fake like a three dollar bill.
'If the big guy attacked him, why is Liwell without a scratch?' Tepper was unaware Lith had healed his opponent to not leave bruises.
'At the same time, I doubt someone could be so stupid to attack a monster like that alone.'
"Is it true, cadet… Lith?" While the Sergeant looked at Lith's service number and someone learned his name, Lith noticed a couple of interesting things. First, Tepper's perfectly shaven face revealed a few small scars.
They were too small for being the result of an injury but too big for being caused by a Healer's incompetence.
'That's intentional. He kept them as a memento. Either this guy's sentimental or batsh*t crazy.' Lith thought.
The second thing was his second question contained a subtle strain of killing intent. Mana and aggression had been mixed to his voice, making the victim feel pressured. It was something he had only seen Jirni doing.
"Sort of." Lith shrugged before telling him most of the truth. That level of killing intent was useless against him. In his version of the story, he belittled the amount of strength employed and made Liwell appear as the sole culprit.
"Let me get this straight. Liwell threatened you, you roughened him up, and the others just stood there and did nothing?" The Sergeant questioned the other cadets, who unlike Lith folded like a cheap shirt as soon as the killing intent hit them.
"The bad news is that you are all in trouble." Tepper said. "For assaulting a comrade and lying to a commanding officer, Liwell is trash. Resorting to violence when a glare would suffice, speaks volumes about Lith. You guys back there are the worst, though.
"You didn't stop Liwell despite knowing that what he was doing was wrong. You didn't help him when he was in trouble and ratted him out without a second of hesitation. The army isn't only about giving and receiving orders.
It's mostly about loyalty, camaraderie, and mutual responsibility. With friends like you, one doesn't need enemies. The good news is that since you are all guilty, I'll punish no one. I'll just tag you as one of the worst units I have ever trained. Follow me."
Tepper led them to the next block and picked up three female cadets, making the group a ten people unit. He then gave the unit a tour of the camp before taking them to the barber. The man gave the girls a buzz cut with air magic, while, after a hand sign from the Sergeant, he shaved the others bald.
'I guess he's punishing your misbehavior.' Solus said. 'Why you didn't make up a story or something?'
'It would have been useless. They could have backed up each other, painting me into a corner. By healing Liwell's neck before letting him go I've turned him into a liar.
'By not mentioning the others' role in the attack, it appears I'm protecting them as a good little soldier would do.' Lith inwardly grinned.
'When they told the truth and exposed my lie, it made them appear as ungrateful cowards. Perfect damage control.'
Tepper then explained to them how to address a superior officer, what would be their routine for the following six months, and that fraternizing with members of the same unit was forbidden.
Lith and the others inwardly sighed at those words. One of the girls was really cute, even with the buzz cut.
"Dating members of other units is allowed." The Sergeant said with a grin.
"I swear to the gods that if any of you manages to get a single date despite your training, your duties, and the curfew, I'll eat my hat."
During the following days, Lith's unit underwent a series of exercises to measure their physical abilities and separate the wheat from the chaff. The final result was that the whole unit came to hate Lith's guts.
He held himself back just enough to appear human and completed all of them with ease.