Part 82: Interview 41 BonusBarracks 41 - Calm Before The Storm
It has not been lost on the soldiers of Green Earth that the final battle is at hand, and despite having just won a great victory, the mood in the barracks that evening is more sombre and quiet. In the barracks’ small kitchenette, a few of the girls are enjoying some coffee.
Adelaide, making the effort to spend time with them, finds herself sitting next to a pale girl with a purple streak in her hair and matching purple lipstick: the ever-strange Quincy.
“Hi there, Addy! Can I call you Addy?”
“Seems like you are already.” Adelaide says, shrugging. “Can I call you Quince, then?”
“Yup!” Quincy replies, winking. “I heard that you made quite an impression out there today - baiting out enemy fire is a pretty scary job, y’know.”
“I know.” Adelaide replies. She glances down at her mug, seeing her faded reflection inside it. “Is that all you wanted to say?”
“Of course not, silly!” Quincy laughs. “Addy, you remember that girl’s night?”
Adelaide suddenly recalls the girl’s night that Cassandra took her to on the night that Sebastian ended things; Quincy had been there, as had several other girls, and they’d all given her a lot of advice - some of it conflicting - but it had all come from a place of love. It had been a nice evening.
“Yes. Yes, I… I never did thank you all properly for that.”
“It’s fine, come on! But I totally get what you mean, about being an outsider. I talk a bit funny and dress a LOT funny, so people used to give me a wide berth too. Well… they still do, if I’m honest. It’s why I started palling around with Harlow. They’re just as odd as me!”
Quincy sips her coffee, then turns back to Adelaide, who is surprised to see, for perhaps the first time, a very genuine and friendly smile on her face.
“What I’m trying to say is that you gotta get out there. It’s easy to stop trusting people when you’re always an outsider. But then the person making yourself an outsider is… well, you!”
“I understand. So… I suppose it’s a good thing that I was able to befriend you all, then.” murmurs Adelaide.
“Exactamundo! The reason I bring this up is because we might see a lot of soldiers on the battlefield tomorrow. You might have to fight alongside… him.”
Adelaide falls silent, but Quincy continues, unabashed.
“So! I want you to know that we’re all here for you! You aren’t alone any more. You can trust us! Well, you probably can’t trust me, but the others… Cassandra, Petra, Lorelei, Amarah and so on… those girls are genuine. So rely on them tomorrow, OK?”
“You’re right. I feel so stupid for not realising how much I was…” mutters Adelaide. “I was isolating Sebastian, but… I was isolating myself, too. I spent so much of this campaign judging and mistrusting you all. We could have spent that time having more girl’s nights and getting closer instead, but… all that time is wasted now.”
“And that’s OK. Life’s never gonna work out exactly like you expect.” Quincy replies, glancing briefly over at Petra with a sigh. “Sometimes people reject your advances. But what’s important is that we eventually all became pals. So don’t worry, alright?”
“Thank you, Quincy. I’m… sort of surprised at how lucid that conversation was.” Adelaide says, chuckling quietly. Quincy grins at her.
“Come on, now! I can make sense sometimes! It’s just more fun not to.”
As the girls continue to drink up in preparation for the upcoming battle, Edgar and Abelard find a man standing just outside the barracks, staring up at the sky, not moving save for the rise and fall of his chest as he takes heavy breaths. They do not react; they expected to find him here.
“Gentlemen.” the man says.
“Wallace. How are you feeling?” Edgar says.
“...Tired. Very tired.” Wallace replies. “Guess that’s what comes with not sleepin’ much, though.”
He turns around, and gives his old friends a calm smile.
“It’s not long now.” Abelard replies.
“One more battle. And then I can mourn.” murmurs Wallace.
“Then we can mourn together.” Abelard says, nodding. “We all loved your boy, Wallace. He was a credit to you.”
Wallace nods, letting a single tear fall. “He sure was, wasn’t he? And I gave him such a hard time with all my joking and joshing. No wonder he always got so riled up…”
Edgar places a hand on Wallace’s shoulder.
“Get some rest, Wallace. Roland will be watching over you tomorrow; I’m certain of it. So let’s show him just how Green Earth avenges the fallen.”