As he wandered through the streets of Olympia, the president’s capital city, the splendor and decadence stood in stark contrast to the world of Tartarus below his feet. The buildings were complete with high archways and rooflines that stretched across the night sky. Windows glittered up against solid brick, illuminating the street with soft, pale light. The roads of cobbled stone, smooth and intricate, wound forward, laying out Olympia in all its glory.
The military base of the Agoge Military Academy stood tall within the heart of Olympia, nestled deep within the city to provide constant protection and surveillance to the noble citizens. It wasn’t a long walk, so Eden was comfortable moving through the streets on his own two legs, rather than summoning a vehicle to transport him. Besides, the night was beautiful. And his heart was happy.
He arrived at the barracks with a spring in his step. The building was large, long, and several stories high, plastered with rows upon rows of windows. At least one-hundred soldiers lived in these quarters, the lowest-ranking forced to share rooms while officers, like himself, were allowed single apartments. Most lights had already been extinguished, the soldiers having turned in for the night. Eden thanked his lucky stars. He didn’t need the questions. Not tonight.
As he stepped inside the barracks and turned down the long and winding hallway to his personal quarters, his heart thrummed with joy. He cursed the high, knowing that soon reality would set in and steal his joviality. But, as he stepped inside his room and fell back on the mattress, he couldn’t help letting out a contented sigh. For now, just for tonight, he would allow himself the simplicity of happiness.
The next morning, Eden rose before the sunrise to complete his daily drills before the other officers and recruits. Their training ground was a series of long green fields, tracks, and obstacle courses intended to increase their stamina and build teams into strong, fully functional, cohesive units. Eden started his day as he usually did–with a long run to wake his body and clear his mind.
Leisurely, the sun began to rise, and with it, Eden’s fellow soldiers. They took to the training field, fresh-faced and fully rested, preparing for a new day of drills and team-building exercises. The newer recruits typically looked to their commanding officers for guidance. But other, more experienced soldiers, joined Eden in creating their own routines. Out of the corner of his eye, Eden glimpsed Blaise stretching and preparing to step into the ring with Benney Burke. With a smirk, Eden moved to join them.
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