The Darwin Chronicles, Book Three: The Blackfire Meadows

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Chapter 18

Emmett woke up in his tent. He had a throbbing headache, although admittedly it wasn't that bad. He wondered how he'd gotten there, remembering blacking out last night. How strong had Phil's drink been? He was shirtless, just like he usually was when he slept. But he was only in his boxer shorts-he slept with pants on.

"Ugh...who undressed me?" he asked Phil.

Phil gave him a long look before shrugging. "You did. You just don't remember."

"Oh." Emmett sighed and put his clothes back on.

"Training starts in half and hour. Seventeen and eighteen year old soldiers are going with Mark today."

Emmett groaned. A day with Mark sounded like burning in hell. "Thanks."

Mark paced up and down the line. Each warrior stood at attention near a cliff, keeping their gaze on the horizon, hoping that his cold eyes wouldn't meet their gaze.
"I know that Joseph taught you all to never kill your enemy unless absolutely necessary," He drawled, "But things are different now with me as head. Yes?"
"Sir, yes sir!" They shouted.
"All enemies we fight, from now on, will be killed."
"Yes, sir!"
"The Ciis has done horrible things, although some I agree with," He said, "And I don't expect you to show mercy. Is that clear?"
"Yes sir!" Everyone shouted, except for Emmett and Amelia, who stood further down the line. This did not pass by Mark. He marched up to Emmett and looked him straight in the eyes.
"I sad, is that clear?"
Emmett forced himself to stare straight ahead. "No, sir."
"What do you mean by 'No, sir'?"
"I won't kill anyone, sir."
"DOWN, SOLDIER!" Mark shouted, making everyone jump.
"Excuse me?"
"Push-ups! Down! Count!"
Emmett dropped to the ground and sank down, then back up. "One!"
"Get up!"
Emmett scrambled to his feet.
"Step out of line!"
He took a step forward.
"Give me your right arm, soldier!" Reluctantly Emmett extended his right arm. Mark grabbed it, whipped out his knife, and slashed his wrist. Emmett let out a loud gasp in pain as his skin was sliced open. His leader roughly grabbed the cut wrist painfully and judo-flipped him over his shoulder. The landing winded Emmett, leaving him gasping for air.
"Up on your feet!"
Again he scrambled to his feet.
"Back in line!" He stepped back in line, where Mark once again glared into his eyes. This time he spat in his face. "Are we clear now, soldier?" He growled. Emmett's ears and back of neck grew red in anger. "Yes, sir."
"Good." He moved along down the line to Amelia and took her hand. "Hmmm," He smiled, examining her wrist. "It doesn't seem like you have any skin let to cut, my dear."
"Is that one of the things about the Ciis you agree with?" She breathed at him. His smiled grew wider.
"Precisely. And this." In a flurry of arms, he punched her in the stomach, making her double over, cut her cheek with his knife, and smacked her over the head with the hilt of the dagger. She fell to her knees with a cry of pain. "Are you clear now too, Ms. Roberts?"
"No." She dizzily looked back up at him defiantly.
"Then...I don't think we need you." He grabbed her arm, and, taking advantage of her disorientation, yanked her towards the edge of a cliff and pushed her off.
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