Chapter 25:

Winter and the Battalion

Magic and the Black Cloaks

"Now that we're all here. It's about time for me to tell you all of what's happening now."

Everyone was gathered in a classroom. They didn't even take off their gear or cloaks, as soon as they were on Gravitywell grounds, they took off toward their classroom which was strange to them all.

"The Executioners Order is getting their own ranking system for the military branch. They should have rolled out a while ago on your cells."

She gave permission to check and that's exactly what happened.

The system didn't seem that bad at face value either.

The very bottom of the ranks went to the rank of Crows, they were simply just new recruits who hadn't moved up to the rank of Hunter which was the rank most of the people in the class had gotten except for the squad leaders. They had become Overseers and the very top had become simply named Commanders.

It was a system created with The Order in mind. The old system was a bit tiring because there wasn't exactly a lot of variety between Executioners, they were all trained the same, everything special about some people was earned through missions but ultimately, people weren't moving ranks nearly as quickly as the general army.

It wasn't something that needed to be pushed but Grand Master Athena was very forward about the change to Grand General Lumina which lead to this change almost out of nowhere. It was easy to conform to though.

Athena wanted the change in order to break off from the military more. She wanted the Order to be a service that served the country and its branches so using the same rank system felt as if they were a little too close even though Executioners couldn't be deployed in most cases without her knowing about them.

The military branch of The Order still hailed the same way but they just felt a little bit different now. Which was a goal she was trying to hit and now has accomplished.

But after getting that over with, that couldn't be the only reason they were all brought here. It had to be something else which one of the students asked right away once the previous conversation was done.

"Right... you won't like this news at all." Krea took a small pause before continuing, "All of you are being transferred from me to the former 102nd that goes to this school. You'll become the 42nd Executioner Battalion once you join under them and will be flying under Commander Winter Flynt and Overseer Akari Kazami."

They didn't resist but the feeling in the room certainly dropped into a somber tone. They had been serving under Krea for the past few years, ever since they were little Reapers basically, it's sad for them to have to change commanders but if that's what's happening, they'll have to accept.

They can appreciate that they're getting a competent commander at the least. Winter and his company have gained a reputation among Executioners, for their efficiency and their strange love of fire. Though, recently, no one has exactly heard of what they've been up to which was weird for the extremely active company.

"...If you don't mind us asking, what's happening to you? You won't be joining us?"

"No. I've been given a seat on the Council, there was no way I could turn that down after a personal approach from Grand Master Athena."

The Council was just as you were probably thinking. It was people from every branch of The Order that worked with Athena to select, sometimes train, send to schools, deploy, and everything else under the sun.

They also had all been given the rank of Master, right under Athena herself.

"Oh my goodness! Congratulations!!!" Sachiel clapped for the promotion of her former leader. She started the cheer and everyone else joined in congratulating Krea on her step up.

Once everything had settled down, she wasn't exactly finished just yet in explaining what was going to happen next with them.

"...Now, I have to tell you your next orders. In about two hours, you all are to board the EX military train and head to the capital. Gather your weapons, cloaks, and anything else you would need to fight. A good amount of clothes on top of that because you'll be there for a while. Once you're there, you'll receive a transmission from their Receptionist, which Lily will be joining in assisting the battalion, and head to whatever location they're at."

"Wait, wait!?! I get to work with THE Chief Receptionist Erwin?!?" Lily stood up and everyone was shocked at the usually quiet and reserved brown-haired girl.

Even when on the job she never yells so this was something no one was ever prepared for.

"Uh- yes?" Krea said in a low tone as Lily sat back down a bit embarrassed at her accidental outburst.

Just like a lot of the others in Winter's company, Erwin was a receptionist so good at his job that he was actually bouncing around companies until the last teacher for the former 102nd locked him in their class just before being unable to lead and quitting their position.

Erwin was pretty much the only person to be able to solo carry an entire company while many others require at least two to four. Though Lily may be frantic and quiet at times, she was an amazing receptionist that was also able to solo carry a company though less efficiently than the person that inspired her to get that good.

"...Anyway, it's about time you all got moving."

They all said their final goodbye to Krea as they filed out of the room...

Doing as they were told, they gathered their stuff and packed up, taking off their cloaks, they left Gravitywell behind for their new assignment.

Since this train would take a very long time to get there and it was currently close to 1 AM in the morning, all of the students silently slept in their seats and would be awakened around 6 AM in the morning as that's when they got close to the capital city.

They could see the place in the distance but where their train would be stopping was rather one of the many military bases around the city. When there, they could either take the railway to the city, solider transport, AKA, horses, or walk.

"Has anyone of us actually been to Venzzett?" A blonde-haired student was the first to stand and take her bags from the rack above.

A large majority of them said no to her question except for Sachiel who had come to the capital before but for more religious reasons than anything else.

A lot of people that believe in the Six make a trip once a year to see the cathedral to pray and a few other things over the span of three days. If this wasn't a mission she was about to go on, she would take this time to go and do these things but she would be away from everyone for far too long.

They took train transport once at the base and once through into the city, they were checked for legitimacy and then let into the city fully where it wasn't long before someone was to contact them.

They barely made it outside of the train station/military outpost before someone dropped onto their communication signal.

"...This is Chief Receptionist Erwin. It's nice of you to get here so early, makes my job a lot harder..."

A few people look over at Lily who looked like she was trying not to explode. That was also their mark that this was the legit receptionist that they were supposed to be contacted by.

"Sorry. But, where are we reporting to?" Sachiel asked as they didn't want to be standing here all day.

"Head to the Great Cathedral. Commander Flynt will be there waiting for you."

Moving over to Winter, he was sitting in the main hall all by himself as the place wasn't open yet, besides the occasional worker that might pass by, he was pretty much alone down here.

Scrolling through his cell as he drank something, he didn't really know what it was but was told it was some type of juice. It tasted good enough so he didn't mind drinking it, he's had some horrible tasting things back home in Rali so the sweet-tasting juice here was good.

"...I wonder if I should've brought someone with me down here?"

He was waiting for the new additions to still show up, they had to be walking so he was giving them time to show but that didn't mean he wasn't bored.

Though, something bigger was on his mind still. How did he end up gaining more people to lead?

He didn't exactly mind having this many people from going from his company of 21 to a battalion of 41. Technically only 39 of them, including him, would be fighting but the receptionists have their own job to do.

He's never led something this big but the confidence in his skills was there. He was just worried if they would listen to him or not, they were breaking off from someone who had been teaching them since they were kids, he was just some prince from another country who had the wind wildcard.

Sure, he had respect from his achievements but dealing with new people is always a pain.

He was all properly dressed up in his officer outfit adorned with the achievements he's collected through his service though they were only the ones from the small time he spent in the General Army. The Executioner's Order doesn't have any awards or medals to give out.

"...All I'm hoping for are normal people."

Or he should say normal for The Order's standards. If they were too normal they wouldn't be able to take part in all of the illegal things his company has done before and will also be doing later on.

Soon enough, he heard the doors open up once again and a group of people walking in with bags and their weapons on their hips and bags. Dressed in their uniforms, they saw that the hall was empty except for the one person looking back at them.

Though they were packed pretty deep, it was easy to move to Winter thanks to the size of the hall.

This would be his first interaction with them and well, he didn't really know what to say. He thinks he should've come up with something before but honestly forgot because of how late he's had to work and how early he's had to get up.

He and his company haven't got the best sleep recently...

"...Okay, you all look pretty good. Why are you staring at me like that? Thought I would be a woman, huh?"

"Yes, actually!" Rena shouted out causing the blonde-haired student to cover her mouth.

Though, when Winter and the blonde caught their eyes in a stare, they instantly recognized each other.

"Wait, you're the queen's sister?"

"Oh, Prince Winter?" The princess tossed Rena to the side, almost comically as she stepped forward at Winter.

"Wait, Marika, you're a princess?!"

They had never realized how close she looked to the current queen but the appearance was there. How come they never noticed before?

"Better yet, they know each other?"

"That's Prince Winter, of course, they would know each other?!"

"I mean, it's not like I saw him often. Just when we were children, before I was in The Order, I met him. He beat me up." Her casual and deep tone of voice as she pointed a thumb at Winter was almost so chill that they were about to ignore what she just said.

"Oh that's- he did what to you?!" Sachiel straightened her eyes at her new commander, giving him the death gaze which instantly had him shaken.

"She challenged me to it! She was talking about joining The Order and all that then wanted to see if she could beat up someone who's basically been training since they were born. As she said, she couldn't." Winter crossed his arms defensively, if there was a time to act natural and cool as ice, it was now.

"Don't worry about it, there's a pretty big gap in our abilities. I realize that now. Anyway, what are we doing? Since we're in the cathedral, I'm guessing someone in the church is in need of protection?"

"Yeah. It's as high profile as you can get. The Pope needs our protection from a plot to kill her from someone that's probably the Queen."

There were no heavy gasps or shocked expressions. Every girl in front of him shifted into work mode as easily as he started his sentence. He had his magic running to block out their conversation from outside ears and when they detected it, they knew it wasn't time to be surprised by anything.

"It's been nearly a month now and nothing has happened. The queen is acting normal and every day the festival approaches closer. We're on high alert at all moments and always have a majority of my company watching her at all times, she has some people from the Execution Inquisition watching her as well but those guys are really busy in their own right. We're the main force protecting anything that gets close to her. We work in tandem with her normal security detail on top of that."

The new guys understood their places in all of this and had some idea of what was going on, who was an enemy, and who they were going to possibly kill.

And really, in their line of work, that's all they needed to be successful. Honestly, all they really needed was a list of names and they would get it done somehow or someway.

With things drawing closer and Winter's battalion buffed up like it is now, he felt like he could get a little riskier whenever they were deployed next. But, first things first, the Pope's protection...