Arven Silverhand stood in line waiting with other people for the arrival of the magical red wagon at the 'bus stop'. He was dressed in a simple garb consisting of a handwoven linen shirt and thick leather pants, covered by a thick muffalo fur coat and his army cloak.

Slung over his shoulder, he carried what little possessions he had while an army issued sword was belted on his waist. His most prized possession, a silver brooch with a motif of a spiked rose with a sword behind it which indicated his rank in the army.

Bronze for a five-man leader, silver for a 50-man and gold for 100-man. He proudly wore the brooch on his left shoulder, pinning his cloak. He joined the army since young, served with distinction for 10 years, and now nearly 29 years old, as a 50-man leader, he was told to report to this new camp, for 'retraining'.

The red wagon soon came into view around the perfectly built streets made of some material Arven hasn't seen before in his life. The people in front of him including some of those hoomans started shuffling forward as the back doors open and the passengers alighted.

He paid with two red chips to the clerk at the booth who gave him a ticket stub with his distance printed on it which he pocketed it. Before that, he couldn't imagine precious parchment being used wantonly like this. The changes the hoomans gave were overwhelming to many.

Arven managed to get a seat next to the window, wondering what is this all fuss all about. Soon the wagon filled up to capacity and the wagon driver gave a few horns better moving the wagon off.

"Hi sir, I'm Kont, from Nester's company, 4th lance." the person sitting next to him introduced himself, placing his right palm over his heart. "Are you also going for 'retraining'?"

"Yes, my name is Arven," He replied to the young man next to him, returning the same greeting gesture.

"The hoomans are amazing and strange, yes?" Kont leaned over and peered out the window. "They claimed they do not know magic yet they are able to make things that can only be explained as magical."

"Yes, the things they can create is really magical," Arven replied, watching the view of the city. "Even the ways they wage war is so strange. We now go to learn their ways of wars."

Kont nodded in agreement, "I found with the hoomans during the battle at the Pass, I helped this hooman spot the enemy many times the distance the eyes can see!" He thought back to the battle, "And the hooman killed the Empire soldiers without even knowing how they died."

"I was there too," Arven told his side of the battle, "Our shield walls did not manage to hold up against the assaults of the Empire mages and shock troops. We nearly fell but the hoomans' magical thundersticks turned the tide of the battle."

"I was saved by the hoomans," He added. "They wore cloth armor and dared to faced numbers ten times their own, and even won the battle!"

The half-track continued its way out of the city's northern gates and followed the highway towards the grasslands, heading for the place called Camp Alpha. Almost an hour later, the vehicle finally arrived at the Camp, the nose plow of the half-track was caked with frozen snow, as it plowed the snow away from the roads.

The rear doors of the half-track opened and the passengers slowly file out of the vehicle, the driver stood at the back, reminding the passengers not to lose their tickets stubs for the return trip or it will cost them another chip.

Standing in front of the gates of the camp, the elves followed the commands of the hooman guards, lining up and showing their identity cards to the guards who verified with a keystone. As they entered the gates, another hooman dressed in a thick greyish suit that covered them from neck to toe, yelled in a mix of Engish and Common, "Alright, form up! Look at the lines drawn on the floor and line up accordingly!"

The elves confused followed the instructions as best as they could and after several minutes of shuffling around finally everyone was in position. "Oh my heavens, my grandmother can move faster than you lot!" That hooman yelled, rolling his eyes dramatically. "Next time I give a command, you lot better MOVE FAST!"

"Now listen up! You lot may think you already know how to fight and is about to embark on the next big adventure. Well, let me set you straight. My Marine Corps has been around for 338 years, tracing our proud lineage to the United States Marine Corps and through them to the Royal Marines of the United Kingdom! My job is to ensure none of you screw up my Corps! We are the fiercest warriors ever to grace the planet Earth! And now you will join the proud lineage and uphold the values and tradition of my Marine Corps! We fight and we kill, that is our sole existence here!"

The elves turned and looked at each other and muttered among themselves, wondering what have they done to be treated this way. "People! You will be tested, stressed, and put to the limits. We are a proud force, not once in our history have we been defeated, we will go to places where no one has gone before and kick the shit out of whoever has pissed on us. From now onwards, we are going to find out who among you will be good enough to be part of my Marine Corps!"

Arven looked shocked, and stood there wondering what is happening, isn't he supposed to be here for training to use the hooman weapons. Why is it now he is here to join some Marnee Cops? He opened his mouth and asked, "Excuse me, but I think you got it wrong here."

"Yes recruit?" The hooman smiled gently to Arven, "No, no there is nothing wrong here. What's your name recruit?"

"My name is Arven Silverhand, 50-man leader of the Army of Goldrose," He said proudly, "I was sent here for training to learn about using thundersticks."

The hooman glanced at the magical device strapped to his arm, nodding after a while and said, "Well, Recruit Arven, you name is on the list."

"Wait, why are you calling me a recruit? I am a 50-man leader!" Arven argued.

"Well, I am Corporal James Bone. From now onwards, regardless of what ranks or nobility you held before in the Goldrose Army, you are now all recruits!" Cpl James stated. "If none of you are willing to go through the training, you can wash out right now! But the Goldrose Army has been disbanded! You have two choices now, join the Marine Corps or return to the city and find other work. The bus is still waiting outside!"

Arven froze, he remembered a few days before the Lord General Joesph gave a speech to all the soldiers, telling everyone that the army will be disbanded. Those willing to continue fighting as a soldier under the hoomans is to form up at one side, which he did with the majority of the others. They were then given ordered and instructions to report to this place.

"No one? Good. From now onwards, you will only speak when spoken to. The first and last words out of your mouths will be 'Sir'." Cpl James paused, watching the elves with an amused smile on his face.

It took the elves a few minutes before they realized that they are supposed to reply, a stammering of, "Yes Sir." came from the group.

James looked up at the cloudy grey skies and said, "My grandmother can shout louder than you! And the proper way to answer is Sir, yes Sir!"

"Sir, Yes Sir!" The elves echoed.

"Nevermind, maybe this will help motivate you lot." James shook his head. "The whole lot, assume push up position. That is, turn 45 degrees to your right and get down on your hands, place them slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Your body should form a straight line from your ankles to your head. This is your push up position."

The elves looked at each other in bewilderment, wondering what is going on. James sighed and gestured for Mills behind him who demonstrated how to get into a push-up position. The elves dropped their bags and gear and soon followed.

"Now stay in that position, as I was telling you ladies, if you survive recruit training, you will be a weapon, a minister of death, praying for war. But until that day you are pukes! You're the lowest form of life, you are not even fucking beings! You are nothing but unorganized pieces of shit!" James strolled down the line as he continued.

"Because I am hard, you will not like me. But the more you hate me, the more you will learn. My orders are to weed out all weaklings who do not pack the gear to serve in my beloved Corps! Do you maggots understand that?"

"Sir, yes Sir!" The elves moaned out.

"Bullshit, I can't hear you." James continued walking down the roll.

"SIR YES SIR!" The elves screamed their lungs out while still in push-up position.

"You there, what is your name?" James crouch next to Arven and asked.

"Sir, Arven, Sir!" Arven yelled out, his face turning red.

"Bullshit, You are Recruit Bigfuck from now on!" James shouted into Arven's ear. "What is your name recruit?"

"Sir, Recruit Bigfuck, Sir!"

A note from neo Koh

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neo Koh


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