The Let's Play Archive

Advance Wars: Dual Strike

by cosmicPostman

Part 10: Chapter 10 (Intermission) - In Solemn Service

As the day draws to a close, it is finally time for Diana to leave Dimitri’s side and return to her room, though as she leaves the barracks’ kitchen area, the first thing she notices is Jacqelyn wandering around, looking a little lost. She raises an eyebrow and strides over.

“Oh! Hello!” she says. “You’re Diana, right? The one they call Dimitri’s Shadow?”

Diana grimaces. “Yes, I’ve heard that people have taken to calling me that… but I’ll stand by it. And you’re Jacqelyn. Looking for something?”

“Oh, yes! I was trying to find my room. This place is rather confusingly laid out.”

“Lemme take a look,” Diana says, glancing over the piece of paper that Jacquelyn’s holding. “Mhm, I see. You’re at the other end of the corridor, I’ll show you. Come on.”

She begins marching before Jacqelyn can reply, and the woman has no choice but to shake her head and hasten after Diana. As she does, however, she decides to inquire more into her new guide’s life.

“You said you’d stand by being Dimitri’s Shadow. What did you mean by that?”

“They call me that because I’m always hanging around him. And in battle, I’ve got his back. I… used to hate him.” Diana murmurs. “I thought he was responsible for the death of one of my oldest friends, but when I learned the truth, I realised that I was mistaken. He’d been paying for my mistake, so I wanted to repay him, twelve times over if I have to.”

“So that’s why you serve him.” Jacqelyn replies. “I see… Dimitri’s Mercenaries really are tightly-bound, huh?”

“Suppose so.” Diana replies, shrugging. “Makes no difference to me. Dimitri’s just as fine of a leader as… she was, so I’ll serve him as thoroughly as I can. If people want to call me his shadow, or make fun of me, that’s their right. I don’t care.”

“I couldn’t imagine that, serving someone so devotedly.” Jacquelyn says, chuckling to herself. “The only person I work for is myself - and all of the things I collect.”

“Yeah, you did mention you were a collector, didn’t you? What do you collect?” Diana asks, hoping to move the conversation away from herself. As they round a corner and head towards Jacquelyn’s room, the woman is delighted to explain.

“Oh, plenty of things! I’ve always wanted to collect cards - and I hear some other people in this army do that too - but primarily I collect little figurines, old animated movies, stuff like that.”

“How the hell do you afford that on a soldier’s salary?” Diana asks, rather more bluntly than she intends to. They come to a stop outside the door to Jacqelyn’s new room. Jacqelyn gives Diana a wink before she opens up her door.

“Hah! My parents help out quite a bit there - plus, when you become a collector, you learn how to find bargains quite easily. I’d like to think of myself as quite the barterer!”

Diana shakes her head. “I see. Well, nice of you to join our motley army, Jackie. And don’t forget, we share rooms here.”

Jacquelyn peeks in and sees a coldly beautiful woman sat on the rightmost bed, looking back at her with her eyebrow raised. Her side of the room is decorated, but only sparsely with the basic necessities.

“Hello! I’m Jacquelyn, but you can call me Jackie!”

Valeria, her new roommate, nods, and says “Noted. Hello.” before going back to her book with apparent disinterest. Jacquelyn turns to thank Diana, but she’s already gone, causing her to sigh and stare at the ground.

“Boy, the people here are fond of the cold shoulder, aren’t they..?”


In the main barracks room, Eva is sat relaxing on her own, spinning a coin along the table. Soon, however, a woman enters the room and comes walking over to her - her dark skin and long red hair marks her out as Fenya, the alluring but difficult older sister of Felix. She sits opposite Eva.

“Fen. Nice to see ya, it’s been a little while. How’ve things been going?”

“Things here have been fine. Being a part of Dimitri’s Mercenaries has proven to be… well, not that much different to being in the army normally. Felix seems to have grown in confidence, at least. I can thank Dimitri for that.” Fenya replies. She looks up and stares into Eva’s eyes. “How about yourself? Is the mercenary life all that you hoped for?”

“Honestly, it kind of is.” Eva replies, shrugging. “We’ve had good work, make good money, and I get to spend plenty of time with Alina.”

The unspoken question hangs in the air, and Eva eventually sighs.

“And no, I’ve not been doing any gambling since we last talked. Cold turkey.”

“Really, now? Remarkable.” Fenya replies. “I’m impressed. I’d heard from Alina that you’d frittered a fair amount of her money by gambling, but it sounds like you really did manage to turn it around.”

“I did, I promise. Me and Alina are getting increasingly more serious, so I know I’ve gotta step up.” Eva replies. “Speaking of, you’ve been giving your brother more space lately. Focussing on yourself and your friends. It’s great to see. Question is, what’s the next step? Romance?”

“Romance isn’t the be-all and end-all of being a person, Eva.” Fenya replies, somewhat huffily. “You’re starting to sound like my mother.”

Eva chuckles, raising her hands protectively.

“Hah, that’s fair, I was just curious.” she replies. “Nah, you take things at your own pace, Fen. Besides, you’re not that old. Guess you don’t need to worry about all that yet.”

Fenya raises an eyebrow. “You’re only two years older than me, Eva. Neither do you.”

“...I know, it’s just… with Alina, she’s so… excitable. The future’s full of infinite possibilities for her. I really do feel like I want to settle with her. We’ve, uh, not talked about it yet, though.”

“It’s a hard topic to broach. Still, you’ve got nothing but time, Eva. Enjoy yourself for now - the future can always come later.”

Eva nods, grinning to herself. “Heh, you’re right. Man, I’ve missed you, Fenya. Look, I should get to my room and chill for a bit, but don’t be a stranger, alright?”

Fenya nods. “I won’t, I promise. I was thinking, since our barracks are stationed so close to the Orange Star barracks, we ought to have a little get-together at some point.”

“Oh, hell yeah, I’d love to play poker with the boys agai- oh, you meant with the Orange Star girls. Yeah, that… that makes more sense.” Eva says, chuckling weakly. “Look, I may not be gambling for money any more, but it doesn’t mean I don’t love card games, still.”

“Hm. I’m unconvinced.”

As Eva walks away, she throws her hands up and shakes her head. “Man, nobody trusts me not to gamble, huh? Can’t believe it. Absolutely astounding.”

Fenya watches her friend go, smiling softly. She’s glad to be back amongst friends, and happier still to see Eva doing so well. Still, that does leave me with one question… myself, my friends… what’s next?