It was the next day and Inky and Erik were both relaxing in the communal heated pool inside the octopeoples city.
"what are we doing here?" asked Inky sounding confused "can't we just bathe at home?"
"Yeah, we can do that, but I came today to try to look for talents" said Erik looking thoughtful holding his chin.
Erik was trying to find who to set as team leaders during the war. He didn't have much idea how he would choose them though, he observed them and most octopeople were just eating or mating in their free time, a majority of scouts and hunters looking pregnant, probably a result of having a safe environment and abundance of food, some warriors even keeping a lustful look on him and masturbating, he only saw some octopeople sharpening their tools or looking thoughtful, but that by itself couldn't determine wit.
"don't they have games or something..." said Erik out loud, and an idea sparked on his mind, chess! he would use chess, a game created in India long ago to test their strategic mind.
With that in mind he stood up attracting quite more looks that he ignored as he and Inky following him went back to his base, he then chose some soft white bones and some darker bones and made the pieces and board. when the finished product was satisfying he said.
Erik: [okay Rose, can you make me a dozen of these?]
[okay seems easy, but why not let me make them all from the beginning?]
Erik: [well, I always wanted to try making a set of chess using ivory, and it turned out pretty decent in the end] he said while examining his work, the lines had been carved with care and precision, and then polished so the final result was good.
[yeah..., they look good, okay go to the armory's synthesizer, I will print the 12 sets there]
Erik: [thanks Rose]
[you are welcome (＾ｕ＾) ]
He then spent the next part of the day recalling all the rules and watching famous players play.
--The next day, back at the octopeople city--
Erik and Inky arrived carrying six sets each, setting them on the ground, Erik took the one he made out of his backpack and set it on the ground, he had already explained the rules to Inky so they started to play as more and more octopeople gathered around to watch.
Inky tried imitating him but kept losing as he just changed tactics, first starting by taking out the horses or revealing the bishops early, or even using his queen as bait to do a checkmate. It was really entertaining for him as Inky was really decisive and easily fell into his traps, her expressions of glory falling quickly to confusion as the checkmate happened over and over.
Inky: "I'm done with this game! you are cheating it's not fair!" she was pouting and feeling really frustrated.
Erik chuckled and said a bit louder voice than necessary "well, then maybe someone else wants to try? the final winner will get a new set of equipment and to become my subordinate, the 12 next best will become her subordinates regardless of caste" he said so all the octopeople heard.
It instantly caused an uproar.
Inky narrowed her eyes and went away, as all octopeople were excited and started playing games against him, the losers taking the boards and playing against other losers, until one small scout actually defeated him using a move he had done before, sacrificing her queen to corner his king.
*(Stefan Levitsky vs. Frank James Marshall
Erik loudly chuckled and just gave her his seat, the small scout, like an immovable rock defeating all that challenged her in wit. After observing for a while he then told a nearby warrior to call him back when a winner was decided, it solemnly nodded and Erik went back to his base.
He had wanted to pass the time watching a movie with Inky but just couldn't find her anywhere.
Erik: [Rose... where is Inky?] he was already worried she was outside or ran away.
[...she is... eating..., in the refrigerator]
Erik was confused and asked: [why not just eating in the kitchen?]
[well... you better go and see, she seems to be angrily eating selected parts of prey...]
Erik was confused by that vague answer and went to check, he peeked inside the refrigeration room and could see Inky devouring the raw dick of an Abyssal with her powerful shark jaws, tearing big pieces and swallowing them. He then felt a ghost pain on his own seeing the gory scene, turning around and going away thinking 'i better leave her be, for now, damn... that was a bit scary, I better just go cook the food for the winners'.
Meanwhile Inky was thinking 'dammit! he made me look stupid in front of my entire tribe! you will see Erik, you will see...'.
--- Hours later, back at the octopeople city ---
Erik looked solemnly at the winner that ended being the small scout girl, and asked "so, what equipment do you desire".
Chessgirl: " I... I want to have a computer for myself..."
Erik hadn't expected such a request but lightly nodded as it was a good choice to learn by herself, any other equipment wouldn't be of much use for her as she was a weak scout.
Erik then announced solemnly "very well then, you shall have one, as for the other 12 you are all welcome to a feast I prepared for all of you". They all cheered as he took them to a nearby room where he had set a table full of food, from fried algae to fried steaks, soups, and some of all the delicacies with local materials he had made before.
He hadn't allowed the elders or Leader to participate to avoid a challenge to their authority but he had played against them in private, surprisingly the Second Elder was really good at it and waited for chances setting traps without a change in expression just smiling at him when he tried figuring her out, and then the second best was the Fourth Elder, but she took way too long in moving each piece, as for the Third elder she just sacrificed pieces looking for a quick victory, and the First Elder just kept pushing forward without much strategy in mind.
The next day he would call the winners and teach them tactics, letting them choose their own squads so they would be ready as he planned to start the infiltration in a week to give time for the crab man's wounds to heal and its body to get used to the mechanical upgrades, then he would infiltrate and get to know them before exterminating them or turning them into servants.