Part 92: Interview 46 - The Night BeforeInterview 46 - The Night Before
(Like last time, this is just a bonus prose piece. Regular update will be on Friday as per. Enjoy!)
Alright, everyone. I say. Im reminded, as I sit here facing the combined forces of all four countries of Wars World, of the last time we had a briefing the night before facing Sturm. That was a nice night probably because most of us expected it to be our last. Its time, once again, to prepare for a big battle tomorrow. We have nothing to worry about, and I want everyone to make sure that theyre mentally ready. Relax, chill out, train, do whatever it is that will make you ready for tomorrow. Were all gonna go home tomorrow - you have my word.
Fuck. I should not have promised that. If anyone dies now
I shrug. OK, dismissed. Have a good evening, everyone.
As I make my way back to my tent, Im bemused at the thought of all four armies sharing a joint camp for just one night. I wonder if theyll all get along? Theyll probably keep to themselves mostly, I decide.
I almost run headlong into Nell as I step towards my tent. She chuckles and nods at me.
My dude. Were you intending to finish some work?
I figured I should go over some tactics or something. I mutter; I didnt really know what to do. I just didnt want to be caught out tomorrow.
Nell smiles. I love that smile.
Its been a year since you left, you know. Ive missed you. Would you like to take a walk and catch up?
You know what? That sounds good. I say, smiling back.
Most of the Orange Star Army have found their own small hideaways. For once, everyone seems to have something else on their mind, and instead of poker and drinks, a night of introspection awaits the soldiers. Dave and Rin are taking a walk around the joint camp under the pretense of keeping watch, but theyre using it as an excuse to spend time together.
What are you going to do after the war?
Dave has thought about the question a lot recently, and he glances down. Their friendship bracelets are just about visible in the moonlight, and he stares at them intensely, then up at Rin.
Stay with the Orange Star Army, of course. he replies. And I hope youre staying too, kiddo.
Of course! Youre not getting away from me that easily, Dave. Rin replies, winking. All of our wonderful friends itll be nice to keep fighting alongside them. Though hopefully after this campaign
Hopefully the fighting ends.
Yeah. That would be nice.
They fall silent again. Rins not usually this quiet, and Dave is a little worried. He puts a supportive arm around her shoulder, and she embraces him quickly.
Im just worried. Ill be OK though! Were going to do our best tomorrow.
Dave nods. Course we are, kid.
And, hey, after the battle, I was wondering, would you be able to teach me how to whittle?
Whittlin? Dave asks. He shrugs. Sure thing, if thats what you want.
Heh. Dont mention it, Rin.
Tina is sitting with Rose in a Yellow Comet tent, and the pair have decided not to do anything, instead simply satisfying themselves with sitting together and thinking. Tina is reminded of the last time there was a quiet night before a final battle - she had spent the evening with Wilbert.
You all geared up for this battle?
Rose nods. Im if Im honest, Im relishing the chance to test my wits against Sturm. And Ill get to see my dude pull off an incredible performance.
Heh. Tina smirks. Youre really confident in my dude, then?
I do not idly give people my respect, but he earned it. Painstakingly, he fought his way across half the world, and whenever possible, he came up with plans that minimised losses. I feel much safer knowing that hell be in charge - though I, of course, could have easily done it myself if it had been necessary.
Oh, I dont doubt you. Tina replies, grinning. She puts her arm around Rose. Man, wheres it gonna end for you, Rose? CO? Leader? Empress?
Oh, goodness. I wouldnt go that far. Rose replies, but the thought imprints itself on her mind, and she cant help but briefly imagine being Empress Rose of Yellow Comet. It has a nice ring to it, she decides. I simply wish to use my talents as best I can. What about you, Tina?
Ah, well Tina says, sighing. Id love to say on, but I have to get home to my kid. I just joined the end of this campaign to help you guys out, but I cant really do that again. Ive gotta think of my family now.
Its nice to have a family, though. Tina murmurs. Been alone for so long, but this last year or two, Ive had the Orange Star Army, Wilbert, and now my daughter. And you, of course. Suddenly Ive got more family than I know what to do with!
And well always be there for you. Rose replies. I may be back in Yellow Comet, but Orange Star has done me many kindnesses, and they are just as much my family as my actual parents.
Tina ruffles the girls hair, and Rose pulls a childish face, wriggling away from Tinas grasp.
Sounds good to me. Well, if were gonna go home to our respective families, first thing weve gotta do is kick Sturms ass. Lets go get some sleep, shall we?
Yes, I suppose we should I am getting a little sleepy.
Lucy pops her head into Ingos tent and gives him a charming smile. Despite the fact that Ingo has been worrying all evening, Lucys face completely restores his mood, and he sits up and smiles back at her.
Thought I might find you here!
Yeah, Ive just been listening to music. Whereve you been?
Seeing my pals! Lucy replies, smiling. Caught up with Tina, chatted to Michael and the boys, the usual.
Yeah, I did the same earlier with Dave and the others. I think Daves gone AWOL now, though.
Lucy hops onto the bed besides Ingo and plants a kiss on his cheek. Probably chatting with Rin! Anyway, you how are you feeling?
Oh, dont worry about me. Ingo replies, grinning. I mean, Im worrying, because of course I am. Big battle, you know? But this wont be anything like last time.
Good. Were both going to get through this! Lucy replies.
Yeah. I Luce, thank you.
Lucys eyes widen as Ingo pulls her into an embrace.. Uh, what for?
Being there. All the time. I really appreciate that.
Lucy reciprocates, tightly hugging Ingo back.
Of course, silly! I care about you. Youre the best boyfriend a girl could ask for.
Heh. Ingo replies, chuckling. Im glad to hear it. Ive been pretty up and down in the last couple of years, but youve always been constant. I love you for that, Luce.
I love you too, but if you keep saying nice things, Im gonna start getting emotional! Lucy replies, burying her head into Ingos nape and trying not to tear up.
Alright, alright. Lets chill out, then. Got the headphone splitters?
Mm? Yeah, right here!
Ingo plugs them into his music player, and hands Lucy a pair of headphones. The pair sit together; silent to any onlookers, but for their ears alone is the music that they need to get through the night.
Fliss and Carter arrive in the largest Orange Star tent to find Michael, Alfonse and Fleur enjoying a quiet chat before the battle. Fliss waves to her sister.
H-hello what are you all doing?
Oh, nothing. Michael replies. Come on in, you two. Always nice to have company on a night like this.
Carter takes a seat, letting out a long sigh. He seems deflated. Man final battle. This army thing hasnt been anything like I was expecting.
The first rule of the army Fleur says, winking. Nothing they taught you in military académie applies in the real world.
No kidding. murmurs Carter.
Alfonse nods. Youve done good though, Carter. Weve just about managed to quash your ego.
Blushing, Carter nods, glancing away. Ahah, yeah sorry about all that. I was top of the class, you know? Figured I knew it all. I mean, Im probably a better shot than most of you, anyway
Michael rolls his eyes, leaning over to murmur to Fleur. Nothing short of a medium tank is heavy enough to quash that ego.
I I um, wanted to thank you all Fliss murmurs suddenly. Her voice is louder than usual, and though shes shaking, shes looking at her sister and friends with determination. M-my p-parents wanted me to be like my big sister but then in the academy th-they saw how good of a shot I was and m-made me become a soldier instead of s-support
Oh, I see. Alfonse breathes. So thats why youre uncomfortable. It was Orange Star that pressured you to become a soldier!
Y-yes! Fliss replies, nodding. But Ive Ive got used to it now. Ive m-met so many great warriors and good friends and I know what Im fighting for now. I w-wont falter tomorrow. I promise!
Fleur places a hand on Fliss shoulder, pulling her into an embrace. Ma sur Felicity you make me so proud. Our parents would be proud too.
I agree. Youve done good, Fliss. Alfonse says.
Carter sighs. Yeah, I guess youre a crack shot.
Well be here for you, no matter what. Michael replies. Thats what being in the Orange Star Army is all about, Fliss. We dont turn our backs on a friend.
Fliss smile is wide, and she beams at her allies. Alfonse stands up, looking a little perturbed.
This is great and all, but speaking of not turning our backs, I just want to check on someone. See you guys in a bit.
Goodbye, Alfonse. Fleur says as he exits. She turns back to the others, smiling joyously. It is such a marvellous night. How about we sit outside and enjoy the moonlight?
I was just about to head to bed, actually, but yeah bit of stargazing sounds lovely. Michael replies, nodding.
Selena stands alone, at the edge of the island that the joint camp is set up on. The cliff is high, but the waves below are calm, dancing as the dappled moonlight shines upon them. Once more, Selena is reminded of the beauty of the moon, and she wonders if her parents and sister are observing this selfsame moon from their home.
She sits down, her legs dangling over the side of the cliff, and leans back on her arms, staring up at the sky. Every star seem to glimmer in its own unique rhythm, and Selena loses herself in the ethereal beauty of the cosmos.
Its easier to be lost in the stars than it is to lose yourself in your own thoughts, Selena knows. Her own head can be a dangerous place. The family she left behind, the pain and rage they must feel her constant desire to outdo herself, to rise to the occasion no matter what and the damned face of her superior officer, Commander my dude. When he arises in her mind, its not a knowing grin or a leery smirk that she sees - its a gentle smile, a calming influence.
The stars worry about no such things, and so, just for tonight, Selena decides not to worry either.
A disturbance behind her causes her to turn.
Thought I might find you here. Alfonse says, giving her a friendly wave. Everything alright?
Yes, it is. Selena replies. Im not overthinking. For once.
Thats good to hear. I take it youve got your family on your mind, usually?
Amongst other things. Ive still not heard back from them. Two years, now
I couldnt bear to imagine that. Alfonse murmurs. My familys been so supportive.
Youve certainly become a capable hero. Dont some of the newcomers call you one of the Big Three of Orange Star?
You, Michael, and Dave. You boys are the glue that holds this army together.
Alfonse is genuinely surprised to hear this, and bashfully looks away, distracting himself by staring at the gentle waves far, far below the cliff. Oh, I dont know about that. I mean, Im glad. Its what Ive always wanted.
Im the youngest of four brothers. So Ive always had to worry about standing out amongst them. I was such a nervous kid when I started in the army, and a lot of that is because I grew up amongst three other boys. But my family at home supports me, and this army supports me, and I really do feel like Ive made a name for myself.
I understand. Im very happy for you, Alfonse. Selena replies, smiling gently.
I guess youve had the opposite experience - you were the more standout sibling.
Quite. Selena says. A degree in physics, an accomplished singer, one of the top-rated students in Orange Star my sibling, Lena, probably understands your position better than I do. Though
Selena studies Alfonse for a moment. She cannot see any venom in his eyes.
Though you dont hold a grudge.
I couldnt hold a grudge. Alfonse says, smiling. My bros love me, I know that. Its not their fault that I was never very standout.
Im much the opposite. Lena blames me, and I I blame myself too. I wish I could do something to help, but I suppose Ive committed to being in the army now.
Commander my dudes got you in his clutches, huh?
Wh-what are you Selena gasps, and Alfonse laughs.
Whether you love him or just like him, you have to admit, virtually everyone in the army is here because of him. Hes unlike any other leader.
Thats very true. Nell and my dude are a wonderful couple, too.
Im surprised you feel that way. Alfonse replies. Wouldnt you rather have my dude to yourself?
Selena smiles and shrugs. Im not sure it would have worked out. Its probably better this way.
If you say so. Anyway, I should probably get back to the camp. Its getting late.
It is. Selena replies, as Alfonse stands up and begins to walk away. He turns back to her.
Make sure you get some rest too. Ill, uh, head back and see how everyones doing. ...Big Three of Orange Star really?
Really. Selena says, smirking. Though, of course, a Big Three needs a head bitch to keep them under control.
Alfonse bursts out laughing as he walks away. Hah! Thats very true! I guess you fill that role pretty perfectly. Goodnight, Selena!
Her thoughts return to the moon and stars above. However, for a brief moment, shes filled with an overpowering warmth, thankful to have such friends like Alfonse, Dave, Michael, Lucy and Tina.
Most of the Blue Moon soldiers have also elected to have a relaxed night, which is why Dimitris Mercenaries have hidden out in Dimitris tent to play some card games. At Zlatas request, theyre playing a few rounds of Cards Against Humanity, with Zlatas custom-made deck.
Its Ivans turn to read the submissions, and he grins as he reads the cards out. Alright, lets see who has the absolute worst sense of humour. The Blue Moon barracks would never be the same after...
Dimitri and the other soldiers chuckle amongst themselves as the answers come out.
After Olaf and Grit making out in the kitchen. Pfft, hahah. After Bees?, thats a good one. The tiniest shred of evidence that God exists, I like it. Getting sucker-punched in the stomach by Ludmilla, was that you, Eduard?
As if Eduards that funny. smirks Anton.
Hey, shut it! Im plenty funny!
Eventually, Ivan finishes reading, and mulls over the winner of the round.
Ah, its gotta be Olaf and Grit. Who played that?
To everyones surprise, its Fenya who leans over and takes her winning card. Me, actually. I think Im starting to understand how this game works.
No kiddin, Dimitri says, nodding. Next round, then.
Me next. Diana replies, taking her card. OK, lets see here your prompt is What is Colins reason for living?
Oh, Ive got a good one for this. grins Valentin, shuffling through his cards.
So do I, come to think of it. Its perfect. Anatoly replies with a wicked smile.
Dimitri, whilst the others are thinking of good cards to play, leans over to Diana and whispers in her ear.
You were right. I think the mercs needed a night off.
Of course. Diana murmurs. Tomorrow isnt going to be easy.
Well fight as one. Dimitri says.
Diana nods at Dimitri, and hes surprised to see the fierce look of devotion blazing in her eyes. Hes seen it once before - its the way she used to look at Wanda.
Ill be right behind you, no matter what. she replies.
I appreciate that. Now pick the winner of this next round, and lets rest ourselves. Tomorrow aint here yet, after all.
Cant sleep? says a voice from behind Sebastian. He turns to see a tall, exquisite woman with flowing green hair, proudly wearing the cobalt-coloured uniform of Blue Moon.
I just, uh, needed a walk. Clears my mind before a battle.
I can understand that. the woman replies. She looks him up and down, a glint in her bright eyes, brilliant as the moon itself. Sebastian feels himself grow nervous under her discerning stare, before she looks up once more, meeting his gaze. She offers a slender hand. My name is Ludmilla."
He takes it.
Sebastian. If you don't mind diverging from your walk, I often find myself in need of company before battle."
Oh, I uh Sebastian says. Was she insinuating what he thought?
"My tent is not too far from here."
She was. Hes not sure how to respond to this situation, but a part of him feels compelled to follow this Blue Moon girl. And yet, another part still ties him back to Adelaide. As he tries to reconcile his emotions, Ludmilla walks alongside him, seemingly unaware of the effect her blasé request has had on him.
The night is so beautiful this evening. I have to say, Im looking forward to the battle tomorrow.
You like battle?
Is that so strange? Ludmilla tilts her head. I joined the army for a reason, you know. Ive got substantial talents in the fields of navigation and reconnaissance. I enjoy being good at my job."
Sebastian cant help but chuckle. I suppose that makes sense. I felt the same, actually. I felt like I wanted to make a real change, and joining the army seemed to be the best way to do that.
Well, if youve come this far, then I can assure you, youve made a change. Ludmilla says. We all have. Tomorrow, it all ends - well free our countries from Black Holes influence. Its going to be a hell of a fight. Thats why Im looking forward to it.
I see. Sebastian murmurs. Ive been so distracted by my own romantic problems that I didnt even realise we were already at the eve of the final battle. It hadnt really hit me yet.
Romance problems, I see. That explains why you looked like a lieutenant in the headlights when I asked you to come back to my tent. Well, Ive been there, pal. Whats the situation?
Just a bad breakup. Sebastian says. It was a toxic relationship, but she still meant a lot to me. And I know she didnt do it all intentionally, you know?
I understand. Sometimes it's just not the right person. Or the right place, or time. You've got to do what's right for you; you'll both be happier in the long run."
"I just don't know when it changed. She didnt change, I just started to see that things werent as good as they were. I dont know how I didnt see it before."
"Because you were happy. Sometimes people learn toxic behaviours from how they've been treated by others. Sometimes they're insecure, they don't like themselves, and that manifests in volatile ways. Hell, sometimes they're just not very nice people, and we didn't see it at the beginning."
Yeah, I guess so murmurs Sebastian.
"There's so much pressure surrounding relationships, pressure about sex and love and passion. You're doing it wrong, you're doing it right, you're not doing it like them, so... Society's funny like that all rumours and libel and conforming to certain ideals."
Especially when youre young. The military academy is full of rumours. Sebastian replies. Girls whispering and boys bragging, every day.
Ludmilla nods. "I think that's why so many girls hesitate to just enjoy their youth and do what they want to do or don't want to do. Either way, they're a slut or a prude."
I didnt realise it was so murmurs Sebastian. Wow. Guys have it differently. One path, really. Youre only cool once youve lost your, uh, virginity. Before that, youre just not considered a man.
It sucks. However, whether they have a reason for this toxicity or not, you need to do the right thing for yourself. A relationship that one person wants to leave is no relationship at all. This break-up could be the crack in the dam, if you get me, the start of the healing process for both of you.
The crack in the dam. I hadnt thought about it like that.
She's got friends around her, right? Or family? Or someone she can talk to?"
Yeah, Cassandra and the others have been supporting her.
"Then there you go. There's good chance shes started to progress already. And if you really love her, then you want to see her become the best she can be, right?
Sebastian, thinking of Adelaide and trying to grapple with a variety of feelings, nods. I do. I want her to be the best. With or without me.
Then youve made the right choice. Ludmilla says, giving Sebastian an affirmative nod.
Thank you, Ludmilla. That was insightful. Sebastian replies.
I do my best," she smiles. There is a minute or two of silence. "But my offer still stands if you want to forgo that walk."
For a moment, Sebastian considers his options, but he realises that theres a clear choice.
He cant be alone tonight.
With Rose busy chatting to Tina, the members of the Yellow Comet Army are split across the joint camp, and Vanessa is relaxing with her friends, sat amongst the tanks. Shes taken pride of place on top of the tank, whilst Kyril and Andromeda sit on the treads. Peregrine is living rather dangerously, lying on the huge barrel of the tank.
I must admit, its been nice to meet the other soldiers in other armies. Were all so similar. says Vanessa.
Yes! I wonder if we fought any of them in the past but who knows?
Who know indeed. Vanessa says. I suppose were reaching the end of this campaign, now, so it wont matter.
You must be excited, Van! Getting promoted into an ACO after the campaign, arent you?
Oh, yes! Vanessa replies. Im definitely excited for that. Im just quite pleased at how things have gone. I feel like Ive grown up, you know?
Kyril shivers a little as the night air passes over him, and he glances up at Vanessa. Id agree; I feel the same way!
I have to agree. I feel joyful, excited, that I have met so many people. I have extended, grown, during this campaign Andromeda replies.
Peregrine shrugs. Eh, I dont change. I just like flying nice and fast, and hitting the enemy as hard as I can. If I can do that, Im happy!
Well, theres a good chance youll have to do that tomorrow, Perry. Vanessa replies.
You give me a target, Van, and Ill fucking crush it! Nobodyll stop me! Peregrine says, grinning.
Andromeda laughs, her musical voice filling the silence. I cannot stop, wait, to destroy this Sturm bastard. I shall help in any way I can!
Rose was right; you two really need to stop hanging out. Kyril says, chuckling. Youre teaching Andromeda a lot of bad language, you know?
Hey, theyre good words. Besides, were in the army, we practically invented swearing. Peregrine replies. Andy doesnt mind, do you?
I try to talk, speak, like the rest of you. Andromeda replies, beaming. Her smile is so genuine that Vanessa cant even bring herself to complain.
Youre doing a wonderful job, Andromeda. Lets just all do our best out there tomorrow.
Aw, man, mother, do you really need to do my hair? Im twenty-four years old, I can style it myself.
Then why dont you? asks Sofia as she pulls and twists Lysanders hair to try and make him look a bit more presentable.
The ladies like a more unkempt look. It suggests that Im aloof and bad, you know?
Oh, goodness, this again. Lysander, I dont know how to tell you this, but you arent going to be cavorting with ladies whilst Im around.
Mother! Im in control of my own body, this is this is an outrage!
Talora chuckles as she watches the pair bicker good-naturedly.
Having fun, are we?
Sofia smiles at Talora. Something like that its nice.
Perhaps for you. Youre not the one whose hair is being violently attacked. Lysander grumbles, but Talora can see him smiling. She points to her own frizzy and unkempt hair, and grins.
At least youve not got this to worry about, Lysander. It could be worse. Anyway, shouldnt you two be getting some sleep? Its getting rather late.
I was just thinking that says Sofia, checking her watch. Most of the younger soldiers are still up, but theres a big battle tomorrow are they going to be awake in time?
I suppose well have to see. I, for one, always get an early night before a big battle. Talora replies. And you should too, young man!
Oh, you as well? I was just thinking that I didnt have enough parental figures in the barracks. sighs Lysander, shaking his head and standing up, wrenching his hair out of Sofias grasp. Oh, alright. I suppose Ill get some rest.
Thats my boy. Sofia says, smiling. Goodnight, Lysander.
Goodnight, mother. Goodnight, Aunt Talor-
Talora turns around, her eyebrows raising, whilst Lysander pauses, completely unsure of what to say.
Uh. OK, guess thats your name now. Slip of the tongue. Jeez, thats unlike me
He wanders off into the joint camp to find his tent, and Talora looks back at Sofia, a wide smile on her face.
Aunt Talora! I could get used to that. she says, smiling.
You do feel like a sister to me. murmurs Sofia. Youve helped Lysander a lot, but youve also helped me, Talora. The army is not an easy place for a mother, but I had to pull through for him. And you helped me pull through.
Oh, heavens, Sofia. No thanks necessary. Talora replies. Youre a wonderful mother, and Lysanders lucky to have you. That said, youll be more wonderful after a full eight hours. How about we take some rest?
Oh, yes. We should do that. replies Sofia. She looks around. If if I can remember which tent was ours again
Talora grins. Dont worry, I know where it is. Follow me.
Thanks again, Talora
On the edge of the forest, Green Earths set of tents have been set up, and in one of those sit Mulligan, Howard and Cassandra, who have elected to rest up, and are chatting in the darkness of the tent as they try to get to sleep. Mulligan and Howard, sharing a sleeping back, are one one side, whilst Cassandra has set up her sleeping bag close to the tent flap, so she can see the stars.
Did you catch up with Orange Star? Mulligan asks.
Howard nods, though hes very tired and talks through his yawns.
Y-yeeaaaah it was nice. Raynalds still confusing as all hell, though. How about you two?
Lucy was overjoyed to see me. Cassandra replies. We used to share a room, back in the last campaign. In fact, she was the one who helped me work up the courage to repair things with you, Mulligan.
Im glad she did. I feel that things worked out well. Mulligan says. As well as they can do, anyway.
You ever wonder about all the countries? asks Howard.
Mulligan shrugs. What do you mean?
Like, this joint camp. Howard replies, his eyes slowly closing. All the countries together, one unified force
I was saying the same thing to Cassandra a few weeks ago. Mulligan replies. We feel like one country. Perhaps well form some kind of alliance after this who knows?
That would be nice. Fighting alongside Orange Star again Howard says.
I would love to do that again. Its been too long since we all fought together properly. Cassandra replies, but as she and Mulligan wait for a response, Howard lets out a small snore and they realise hes asleep.
I suppose we should take his cue. Mulligan says. Sister tomorrow, we free our world from Sturms yoke once more.
We do. Ill be right alongside you, brother, no matter what.
Night, Cass. Remember, were up early tomorrow.
Urgh, Cassandra says, trying not to laugh. Im not going to oversleep again, I swear that was one time.
Edgar! Still awake? says a voice from across the joint camp, disturbing Edgar as he walks towards his tent. He turns to see a group of youngsters watching him - Conrad, Henry and Petra, all enjoying mugs of hot cocoa.
Ah, Conrad, Petra, Henry. You should be getting some sleep soon. Tomorrow is a crucial chance to prove yourselves on the grandest stage of all. Edgar replies. And I want to ensure you all come back.
Hey, old timer. No fear. Well be alright. Conrad says.
Edgar lets out a sigh. The last time Sturm was defeated, Green Earth helped deliver that final blow. But there was a cost - a young soldier, about your age, called Princeton. He didnt return.
Didnt breathes Henry. Like Roland..?
Like Roland. Edgar says. This is a chance to prove yourselves, but more crucially, this is one of the most dangerous battles youve ever faced. Sturm commands the very cosmos themselves, and his forces are of alien origin, with more powerful vehicles than we could possibly hope to build.
No matter what he does, we will win! Petra says. Edgar, you saw potential in me, right? Eagle did too! That cant be for nothing. Ill defeat Sturm, I promise!
Edgar cant help but chuckle. Ah perhaps Im getting soft in my old age, but when you say it like that I feel like I can believe you.
Ill be there, sister in arms. Conrad replies, placing his hand on Peras shoulder.
We all support each other! We already lost one, and we wont lose another! Henry says. So no worries, Edgar. Theres a Sturm coming!
Edgar nods. Very well. Get your rest, you lot. Theres a big battle tomorrow, and it seems like youre all ready. Look after one another out there.
He strides off, and Petra punches the air. Right! Sleep, everyone! We need to rest so were in tip-top condition to take on Sturm!
You dont think were getting in over our head, do you? asks Conrad as they walk to their tents. That Princeton he obviously had the same gung-ho that you do. But he paid for it dearly.
Hey, you gotta have some faith in Petra. Henry says, winking. When she puts her mind to it, I dont think theres anything in the world that could stop her!
Heh. Thats true. Conrad murmurs, watching Petra stride away with purposeful steps. He feels a chill in the air - the night is cold, and its getting darker.
Our walk comes to a close outside Nells tent. Shes got one to herself, since shes running the show when it comes to Orange Star.
According to my calculations, Sturms base is here. Nell says to me, pointing at the map in her hands. But theres enemy COs, Flak and Adder, here and here; I think they intend to pull off a pincer movement. Well need to deal with them.
Take Orange Star. I say airily, shrugging. "Kanbei, Eagle and Colin are all I need for tomorrow's battle."
Youre going to take on Sturm with just three armies? But my dude-
Nell. I say. Ive done it before. Ill do it again.
She smiles, and clutches my hand tightly. Alright. Its all riding on you tomorrow, my dude.
Youve nothing to worry about. With you taking on Flak and Adder, and me taking on Sturm, Black Holes got no chance of winning! Were the fucking power couple of the century!
Hah I suppose so. Itll be nice to crush them. Nell says. Shame that Lash isnt with them. She must be working on the missile platform and my intel hasnt told me anything about Hawkes whereabouts, which makes me nervous.
Well be fine. Were gonna win tomorrow. Then
I cant quite bring myself to say it. I fiddle with the ring on her finger, and Nell holds it up to the moonlight.
Then, we marry. Nell says simply. Im looking forward to it, my dude.
Yeah, me too. Guess weve got to earn our perfect wedding, though. I reply, chuckling.
Nell excuses herself and disappears into her tent, no doubt to finish off her battle plans. All Ive got to worry about is taking out Sturm but thats no easy feat, even if Ive done it before. My palms feel a little clammy, and I realise that theyre shaking.
A voice behind me makes me turn around, and I see Ruin standing at the edge of the forest, almost concealed from view. She gives me a curt wave.
Ruin! Am I glad to see you. I say. Im missing your commentary, you know.
Youve more important things to worry about right now. Ruin replies, the slightest hint of a grin on her face. Though I am missing it too. Still, are you ready for tomorrow?
Yeah, I think so. I cant lose now. Like Nell said, everythings riding on me tomorrow.
Ruin pats my shoulder, in what I assume is supposed to be a comforting manner. This girl needs to work on her social interaction skills. Your victory is assured. And Ill be on hand to save a single life if need be.
Thats a big relief. Thanks, Ruin.
But of course. Ill be going, anyway. Id like some rest.
Yeah, of course. No worries. I reply, waving to her as she walks off.
Its only as Im walking to my own tent that I remember what I wanted to tell Ruin. It was important, too, and I blow a raspberry in annoyance. Argh, dammit I must remember to tell her tomorrow. After I win.
After I win.