It was going to be today.
Giacomo observed the foot soldiers moving through formation from above, his arms folded across his broad chest and his expression shuttered. There was no one to take note of his appearance—the soldiers’ attention was focused to their work, and no one spared a glance to the perimeter wall. After a moment, though, a pleased grin spread across his face.
Today was the day he'd finally prove himself worthy of the private unit he'd petitioned, and he wouldn't have to lift a finger.
He'd done enough to prove his personal prowess. More than enough, he’d dare say. Now it was just clearing the two of them...
Ayme knew. Ayme had been a confidant of his for a very long time, since even before she was through her initial tests. At that point in time, she’d been considered classified information and Georg had meant to keep her and Folon separate from both one another and anyone else. That had failed rather miserably given Giacomo’s own status as an experimental body, and one who, being Georg's son, demanded full exploration of the laboratory. Though young, she had been cool-headed and not easily impressed; it took Giacomo more than one encounter to earn her grudging confidence, and many more to develop something of a tentative friendship.
As much as she was able, she’d leant her aid to Giacomo’s advance through the ranks, trusting that he’d repay her when he was able. That sharp, arrogant redhead—Skeed, Giacomo had to recall—had also added quiet contribution to Giacomo’s progress, something Giacomo would have found puzzling if he hadn’t known of Skeed’s even more quiet and markedly more peculiar interests. Neither of them had ever put their names forward, however, so Giacomo had reaped the glory. Now, the only issue lay with the other surviving orphan who'd been brought into the empire as one of Georg's experiments.
The two figures emerging at the far end of the courtyard signalled the beginning of the trial. The soldiers in training had not been informed of this ahead of time, and now stood at confused attention, waiting for orders or explanations from their unit commanders. Ayme, one of the two figures in the distance, set her gaze to scan the perimeter until it landed on him, and then raised one arm in something half-greeting, half-salute. As Giacomo moved to do the same, he saw Ayme elbow the figure next to her and then he spied a flash of white as Folon grinned in his direction.
The two of them were going to be in his unit, and he would have no one else.
The difficulty, of course, was Folon's history of misconduct. The blue-skinned man had been trained exquisitely, and was capable of killing with his bare hands almost better than with the weapons they'd taught him to manage—in that respect, he was no different from Ayme. The place they diverged was the level of biological modifications they'd gone though. While both Ayme and Folon had proven themselves to be stronger than any of the other orphans who'd been treated simply by surviving, Folon had undergone far more severe experimentation. His resilience to the treatment had pressed the doctors and scientists to mix more and more of the god’s essence into his blood; the fact that his sanity had already been in question when he was recruited meant they had nothing to lose so long as he wasn’t rejecting the treatments. Suffice it to say that the meagre self-control he'd once possessed had been dangerously demented, and leave the rest to imagination.
Giacomo smiled, though, as he felt tension roll out her tendrils and slither her way into the ranks; they recognised Ayme and Folon, and they were afraid. It was almost a shame that they needn't be. He could see Ayme talking intently to Folon, and the blue-skin's posture was stiff and tight, indicating that he was listening. Giacomo was sure she'd be reminding him for the last time that he was not allowed to kill anyone today, and that if he did everything properly, just like they practiced, Giacomo would do what he had promised. That was all Folon needed to hear.
Giacomo was patient, for this. He knew what he would see: perfection. Perfection beyond that which any normal soldier could ever dream of attaining. Perfection to the same level he himself commanded; perfection so absolute that this entire field of soldiers would be powerless. That, that was why he was grinning. His grin remained as the first round of shots echoed through the compound, bullet after bullet after bullet whistling harmlessly through the air where Ayme and Folon had lingered seconds previously. Row after row fell to the speed of Folon's whips and the shock of Ayme's guns; the formations crumpled and turned in upon themselves as soldiers grew more and more stupefied that just two people were defeating them. He grinned wordlessly even as he felt other off-duty commanders come up besides him, even when the Emperor himself came to see his army being soundly trounced by only two fighters.
They were going to be the most unquestionable force the Empire had ever seen.