The Let's Play Archive

Advance Wars: Dual Strike

by cosmicPostman

Part 44: Chapter 44 (Intermission) - Four Fingers On The Guitar

The soldiers are having a nice, relaxing evening to unwind after a difficult battle, and several of the soldiers are resting in the main barracks room, where Blue Moon soldier Anna is serenading them with the soft tones of her singing voice, accompanied by a smooth acoustic guitar.

Dimitri relaxes with Zlata; Diana is resting in her room, affording them a bit of time alone together. Zlata cuddles into Dimitri contentedly.

“Ah… it’s nice to get a chance to rest.” she murmurs.

“The rest of us do get chances to relax, you know.” Dimitri replies. “You just spend all your free time tinkering with those tanks.”

Zlata pouts in mock offendedness. “Gasp! I do not. I spend most of my free time tinkering.”

Dimitri chuckles and pulls Zlata even closer, closing his eyes and enjoying the guitar. “Heh. Suppose so, yeah.”

At another seat nearby, Ignat, Jacquelyn and Inessa are discussing the card game they all play. As a collector primarily, Jacquelyn is content to sit and watch the others play a match, whilst she opens up packs of cards and checks them off in a little notebook.

“Ooh, that’s the super-rare Galaxy Mouse! I didn’t have that before…” she muses to herself, ticking it off. Inessa and Ignat are in the middle of a fierce game.

“Alright, I’m playing the Haberdasher,” Inessa says, placing the card down. “And that’ll stop any pesky attempts to play hat cards!”

“I’m… hm.” Ignat says. “I’ll draw a card, and… ah, perfect! I play the Toy Knife.”

“Aw, what?”

Ignat smirks. “It instantly destroys one of your cards and gives my nearest toy-type card +1/+1. Obviously I’m taking out the Haberdasher, and giving +1/+1 to my Clown.”

“Damn… you’re really good at this game, Ignat!” Inessa says, putting one of her cards in the discard pile and pulling a face. She smiles immediately afterwards, however, and Ignat smiles back.

“Thanks. It’s nice to have people to play it with, more than anything.” he says. “I’m glad we were able to bond over this.”

“Oh, for sure! It’s a shame Felix and Kov couldn’t be here tonight. I wanted to have some games with them too! Or, heck, even introduce it to some of the others that joined us recently!”

“Well, I’m sure we can do that another time, you two.” Jacquelyn says, leaning over and giving the pair a motherly smile. “The match isn’t over yet, anyway. What are you going to do with the rest of your turn, Ignat?”

“Oh! Um… my Clown is going to attack… hm… what’s the best play here..?”

As Anna reaches the end of her next song, the final few notes ring out, and the assorted soldiers that are sitting around clap dutifully. In the short time between songs, Anna leans over to pick up a glass of water on the table next to her, and as she turns back, Lysander is stood in front of her, with the charm turned up to eleven.

“Hey, I just wanted to say, I’ve been admiring all your music tonight. You’re super talented.” he says. “I’m Lysander, Yellow Comet.”

“Well, Lysander, Yellow Comet, I’m Anna. Nice to meet you.” Anna says, a friendly-but-cautious look in her eyes.

“Are you formally trained? You certainly seem so; I’d be delighted to discuss it sometime. I’ve always had a taste for the finer arts.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t say I’m anywhere all that fine.” Anna replies, keeping her eyes downcast. “Thank you for the compliment, though.”

“Not to worry - there’s more where that came from. Perhaps you wanted to get a coffee?” Lysander says smoothly, extending his hand. Anna shakes her head gratefully and turns back to her guitar.

“Thank you, but I’m afraid I’ve got music to play. I’m not really looking for anything like that in the near future.” Anna says, strumming her guitar and tweaking a few of the guitar’s machine heads. Lysander, defeated, nods.

“Right, totally get you. Well, I look forward to more delightful songs, and uh, pleasure meeting you.”

Anna continues strumming, and once she’s ready, she begins singing another song. Across the room, Klara watches the situation, and winces as she sees Lysander walk away. It’s not the first time she’s spotted someone get turned down by Anna, and she knows it may not be the last.

As Anna plays once more, on the far end of the room, where the strains of the guitar and Anna’s gentle singing can just barely be heard, a heavyset man with a barrel chest sits down in front of Iago, who was nursing a drink on his own.

Iago stares at the man stood in front of him, holding a pint of beer.

“You…” he murmurs. “You’re one of Orange Star’s naval commanders, aren’t you? Lloyd?”

“Aye, Lloyd indeed.” Lloyd says. “And you’re the bilge-rat that got a sharp talking-to from little Lucy, isn’t that right?”

Iago burns with shame. “Yes. What about it?”

“Wanted to chat with ye about it.” Lloyd replies, taking a big sip of his beer. “Y’see, you ain’t the only one here who’s dissatisfied with their situation. Ev’ry soldier here’d love to be a hero.”

“I’ve been thinking on that girl’s words.” Iago murmurs. “What do I love? What am I fighting for?”

“Answers aren’t always insightful. Sometimes the most obvious answer is the right’un.”

Iago nods. “I… I am fighting to not fight anymore. I’m treating it like any other job. There is no love.”

Lloyd takes another sip of his drink and then places both elbows on the table, staring intently at Iago with his one good eye. “An’ is that how you wanna be? Is that what you think a hero does? Treats this like a day job?”

Iago stares back, intimidated. “No. They follow orders, but… I suppose there’s a difference between following orders with your mind and following orders with your heart.”

“Aye, lad, you’re gettin’ it. Two people can do the same job in the same way, but the one that stands out is always gonna be the one who puts in that little extra.”

“But what if my heart tells me nothing? What if there is no love to guide me?” Iago says, and for a moment, his eyes shows Lloyd an intense sadness, as opposed to the dry blankness they usually give out.

“Lad…” Lloyd says eventually. “Everyone loves something. Me, I love the ocean, and my crew - I’d do anythin’ to make sure they see another day. Some love their country. It all depends what be the thing that makes you get up and keep fighting, even when you’re knocked down!”

Iago closes his eyes. “I… I think it’s beginning to make sense.”

“Oh, aye?”

“Yes. I… did not do well in school. I could have, but I wasted my time.” Iago says. “I had no other choice after I finished my education and thus… the army was my only option.”

“I see.” Lloyd replies. “Ye don’t try because you resent the army for bein’ your only option, is that right?”

“Correct. I despised everyone and everything that led me here.” Iago says. “But… perhaps that is unfair. It was me, and my own failures, that led me here.”

“Failure may have led ye here, but it doesn’t mean this has to be where it ends. Rough seas always become calm eventually.” Lloyd replies.

Iago nods. “I see now. My failures led me here, and I was… lashing out because of that. In actuality, I… was lashing out at myself. I am still in this rut because I haven’t changed from my high school days. A decade of minimal effort and aggression…”

Standing up, Iago looks down at Lloyd, and gives him the briefest, tiniest hint of a smile.

“I… will think about trying harder. Giving it my all. Perhaps it really is me that needs to change if I want to change my situation.”

“Good to hear, lad. Glad we could have this chat!” Lloyd says, saluting. Iago nods.

“I… thank you, Lloyd.” Iago says. “I do not thank you lightly. You have done me a good service.”

As he walks away, Lloyd grins. “Aye. Knew there was a good lad in there somewhere. Do your best, Iago!”

Anna finishes the next song that she’s playing, and decides to place her guitar aside for now, worn out and in need of a rest. She sits at the table nearby and sips her water, though as she does, she’s interrupted once more - this time by Klara.

“Shot down another guy, Anna?”

Anna nods. “Yeah, I did. As I say to them every time, it’s not what I’m looking for right now.”

“Well, that’s unfortunate! What are you looking for, then?” Klara replies. Anna smiles at her.

“Funny that you of all people ask that.” she says, giving a gentle smile. “For starters, all I really want is more friends. I have admirers. I want pals.”

“Ah, I see! I understand that!” Klara replies, beaming. “Having friends is nice! Despite how friendly I am, most people tend not to get close to me, though. A lot of people find me… intimidating, hee hee!”

“What, because of your berserk side?” Anna replies. “To be honest, Klara, I actually really admire you for that. It’s cool, not intimidating. And you always keep it under control out of battle.”

“You really think so? Wowee!” Klara asks, eyes widening.

Anna nods. “I’ve been thinking about talking to you more lately, but I was always too nervous to just walk up and ask to be friends. But, well, here you are, so… do you want to be friends?”

“Of course!” Klara says, nodding excitedly. “Gosh, what now?”

“What now? We chat, and hang out, and have a good time.” Anna says. “That’s what friends are supposed to do, anyway. Shall we get a drink? The bar’s still open.”

“That sounds good to me! Though I usually don’t drink alcohol, so just a lemonade will do for me! Hee hee!”