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Camp Alpha, Officer Cadet School

Joseph Tokin, at forty-three of age, formerly Lord General of the Kingdom of Goldrose, sat in a classroom with several other of his previous army command, taking a class in Advanced Infantry Tactics, learning about different types of infantry warfare, currently mentored by Major Frank.

He and the others were all wearing the standard blue-grey multi-scale camouflage uniform all the military was wearing. Everyone including him has a white bar on their shoulders, indicating they were Officer cadets. His class went through basic military training before being fast-tracked to Officer Cadet School and went through several courses on leadership, tactics, and management.

He heard that after the course is over, they will be split up to different branches of the military, air, land, and sea. The hoomans didn't treat any of his fellow cadets including him with any special treatment, regardless if they were nobles or commanders of a thousand men before. Even his title as Lord General, he wasn't given any preference, in fact, he was expected to "muck" around with everyone.

Luckily despite his age, he was still able to keep up with the younger ones, and of course, a strategic use of a restoration spell here and there helped a lot. But shooting with an M1 Magelock played hell with his right shoulder, and he just barely managed to scrape by the passing score for a rifleman. "Alright, this is all for the day," Major Frank ended his lecture on infantry warfare and continued, "Read up on Sun Tze's Art of War, this will be your homework!"

"Attention on deck!" The cadet nearest to the door stood up and shouted, and everyone stood up and saluted Major Frank, who returned the salutes and left the classroom.

Arven and Rathia gathered next to Joesph's desk and started grumbling, "Damn, I was hoping on catching on some sleep tonight, guess it will be spent on reading instead!"

Arven Silverhand used to be a 50 man leader in the Army of Goldrose, and he was recommended to be in the Officer Cadet School after he passed out from Basic training and due to his leadership skills he displayed in the Second Battle of Sawtooth Mountain Pass. He became friends with Rathia and Joesph during the first week of orientation and stuck close to them ever since.

Rathia Redstone, on the other hand, was Joesph's close friend and second in command of the remaining survivors of the Army. They been through a lot over the years and were lucky to be in the same Officer Cadet class. "Well, it's a very interesting read, in fact, I am amazed by the contents," Joesph said.

"The book is said to be over 1,800 years old," Joesph added, "I doubt that we in the Goldrose, the Empire or even the whole New and Old World would allow anyone to have access to this material!"

Both Arven and Rathia nodded, "The hoomans also made it mandatory for all to take classes on writing and reading, I wonder how their home city looks like." Arven commented.

"Alright let's go get dinner," Rathia said, "I am hungry, I heard tonight they have some ant meat!"

Arven and Joesph laughed at Rathia gluttony and they packed their stuff up and left the classroom and headed towards the cookhouse. Along the way they saw the latest batch of Marine recruits dressed in fatigues, jogging towards the cookhouse instep. The interesting thing was that there were Oerkins mixed in among the elves.

"If it was us before, we wouldn't have thought that Oerkins could be made part of our kingdom," Joesph said as he watched the platoon came to a halt before the cookhouse, and the men were dismissed in an orderly manner into the cookhouse, forming lines before the food section. "Now we are all part of a brotherhood."

The trio entered the cookhouse and headed to an area marked for officers, they hanged their multi-scale camouflage jockey caps at the hangers provided. The food offered was in a style called which the hoomans called it a Buffet, food set on trays were laid out over the table, heated with a small flame underneath. They could choose what they want to eat and how much they want by serving themselves.

They filled up their plates and found a seat and started to dig in, the food was foreign but good compared to what they normally eat in the Army previous, with fried or baked potatoes with gravy, boiled carr-atoes, either wyvern meat or some other monster meat, and a side of salad greens. The menu was different every day but repeats every week.

As they were eating, Major Frank entered the cookhouse and joined them at their table, his plate piled with steaming gravy, potatoes, and meat. "How are you guys doing?"

The trio nearly shot up from their seats to salute Frank, who grinned, saying "No ranks in the mess."

Joseph grinned, their time as trainees and recruits had ingrained into them a sense of wanting to greet any officer by saluting or standing at attention. "Sir, we are doing fine."

Frank continued smiling digging into his food, "Good, you guys will graduate soon, God knows how desperately I need more officers!"

"Sir, why are we not sent to the Pass when the Empire attacked?" Rathia asked. It was a sore point between him and Arven who had at least fought in the first week of the battle, before getting pulled out to Officer Cadet School.

"Simple, you guys are not ready yet," Frank bluntly said. "Until you are fully trained to lead in combat, then yes, you guys will be assigned to take over companies."

"But we have many years of experience in soldiering!" Rathia pushed.

"Arven, enough! I am sure the hoomans have their reasons for everything," Joseph stepped in, cutting Rathia off.

"It's ok, we do teach you all to think for yourselves," Frank smiled, "First of all, what you all know about combat involves cold steel tactics and magic." He explained patiently, "What you know then of modern warfare tactics is just what you have seen."

'That's why we are drilling and teaching you all how to fight with modern weapons against an enemy with cold steel weapons and also the possibility of the enemy having firearms of their own." Frank continued, his small talk had gathered the attention of all the Officer Cadets who were having dinner.

"Until you have graduated, you are still Cadets," Frank said, "Until then, you will not be risked at live combat situations till you all have being deemed ready to lead men, despite most of you were already leaders in your own right."

"Sir, so you mean that we are not ready for this war yet?" Someone asked.

"Yes, look at all the tactics and weapons the Marines are equipped," Frank said, "As officers, you need to know how each weapon works and make split-second decisions. War is no longer taking hours and hours, you don't have messengers running here and there to relay messages nor do you rely on signal flags. We have to set the highest standard for you guys, so as to set the 'bar' for the next batch of Officer Cadets. You guys will be teaching or leading by example for future generations to come."

"Even then, we are still learning new ways of warfare," Frank admitted, "Like incorporating magic into the ranks, as it could change overall battlefield tactics and results."

The cadets nodded and returned to their seats while they digested both food and thoughts of the speech given by Major Frank.

-----

Camp Alpha, Training Area C, Shoot House

"Go go go!" The recruit acting sergeant yelled, as his section stacked up against the wooden structure's door. The leading door breacher, fired his breaching shotgun off the hinges and the lock, while his number two, an Oerkin who kicked the door down and lobbed a blue training flashbang, which the men counted down from three to one and yelled, "Exploded!" before entering the building.

Mills stood on the top of a raised platform, overseeing the exercise. The shoot house was built like a maze, without a roof, allowing observers to watch what is happening inside. Other than Mills, other sections of the training platoon stood on the platform too, watching the action going on. Cracks of thunder echoed out of the house as the Marine recruit section stormed into the house, clearing the rooms and corridors one by one.

Dozens of dirt golems charged towards the recruits they entered rooms, the golems were conjured up as target practice by Irisval who was also at Camp Alpha learning on how to be a combat engineer.

The golems made out of soil and dirt, exploded to bits when hit by the 6.5mm rounds, but some unlucky recruits which did not check their corners had the golems punching them, the soft dirt only knocking them down and not dealing any serious damage.

Soon the whole recruit section who breached the building was surrounded by the golems and carried out, Mills shook his head at the section's performance and blew a whistle, before sending a mental command onto the bronze plate which controlled the golems, telling them to stand down.

"That was pathetic!" Mills greeted the panting men and orcs on the entrance of shoot house. "My grandma can do better than you!"

"Recruit Slow!" Mills barked, "I told you to take three steps in and crouch!" He pointed at the orc squatting on the grass. "Do you know what is three?" Mills held up three fingers, "One, two, THREE!"

"Erm, gotcha, Corporal!" The orc named Slow replied, rubbing his head. "Three steps and knee down."

"Than why in the hell did you not?" Mills cursed, "You are freaking huge! You not crouching, effectively blocks the whole section behind you! By doing so, no one other than you can open fire!"

"That is how you guys got swarmed!" Mills explained, "Now we will be doing the run again! I expect to see you take THREE FUCKING STEPS and crouch down! DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME RECRUIT SLOW?"

"Erm, yes, Corporal!" Recruit Slow nodded, his helmeted head bobbing up and down.

"Alright, show me what you got, or I swear to the gods, you guys will keep redoing this run till I am satisfied!" Mills growled at the recruits before turning to the rest on the viewing gallery, "You guys up there better pay attention too and don't screw up!"

The section quickly gathered up and checked their weapons and gear before heading to the starting point. Mills returned back to his vantage point and looked at his watch, and blew the whistle, signaling the start of the exercise again while mentally commanding the golems to be on guard.

Pike carried up the platform and stood beside Mills, "How are they doing with the training so far?"

"They are pretty tough, Top" Mills sighed, "But the Orcs are either mathematically challenged or just naturally dumb. Other than that, they can shoot pretty well and really adapt to modern tactics pretty well and heavy weaponry."

Pike nodded, "Well, that's the gist of training. We keep drilling them till it is ingrained in their muscle memory." Pike said. "Since the dungeon run, we need a Standard Operating Procedure or SOP on clearing dungeons."

"Heard it was pretty exciting thou," Mills grinned, "Actually I would wanna be posted to the Airforce! I want me a dragon!"

"In your dreams, Marine," Pike shook his head, "We need more boots on the ground than in the air now."

"Well, sooner or later, we will need some Marine close in air support," Mills continued to argue, "What's better than a 40-ton dragon that breathes fire?"

"Train your men, Marine," Pike rolled his eyes, "Get the new batch of recruited trained and ready than we see."

"You got it, Top!" Mills rubbed his hands in glee before returning his attention to the action below, "WHAT THE FUCK RECRUIT SLOW?"

"THREE FUCKING STEPS! NOT ONE NOT TWO BUT THREE FUCKING STEPS!"

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