The Let's Play Archive

Advance Wars: Dual Strike

by cosmicPostman

Part 68: Chapter 68 (Intermission) - The Meaning Of A Flower

After the battle, the ladies of the Snowbound Free Company are relaxing in Alina and Eva’s room with a bottle of wine.

“Whew, that was exhilarating.” Nika sighs, sipping her wine. “Thank goodness Zlata was able to bail us out! That girl’s not just a mechanical whiz, but a hell of a bomber pilot, too!”

“Indeed. Dimitri’s Mercenaries are well trained.” Valeria says. “The girls are particularly fond of us, I think. I’ve had some nice conversations with Diana and Fenya.”

“Oh yeah, Fenya’s cute.” Eva says, cuddling up to her girlfriend, and Alina absentmindedly puts an arm around Eva’s shoulder.

“I don’t think we should downplay our own contributions, though, ladies. I did land the finishing blow on that Neotank.” Alina adds, downing the rest of her wine and smacking her lips. “I’ll admit, I was a little worried when Abram left, but I really think we’ve come into our own. The Snowbound Free Company is doing well, and making a difference!”

“I suppose so, yeah.” Eva replies. “I never knew Abram all that well, but he seemed like a pretty good soldier.”

“That reminds me, you never did explain the significance of the white rose to Eva, did you?” Valeria asks. Alina whirls around, her face a picture of shock.

“How’d you know about that?”

Nika laughs aloud, shaking her head. “Come on, Alina, what do you think she did after you didn’t tell her? She went to ask all of us, too!”

“But they wouldn’t break. Nobody would tell me.” Eva says, shrugging. “You up for explaining it now?”

“Sure. I guess we ought to tell you at some point, seeing as you bear the rose on your own uniform.” Alina replies. “When we started out as the Snowbound Free Company, Abram was actually our leader; some seven years ago, he and Valeria recruited me and Nika!”

“Oh, I see!” Eva breathes.

Nika nods. “Yeah! We were barely out of military academy, but Valeria had noticed our talent in one of the mock battles, and Abram hired us that very day!”

“We didn’t have a symbol in those days - we just wore white, usually. I told you about the way we used to appear out of the snow, yeah?”


“Abram was the one who used to go with those plans - the main reason he chose me to succeed him over Valeria was because I tended to go along with those plans. Valeria…”

“Vehemently disagreed with risking our lives in the middle of snowstorms just for a tactical advantage.” Valeria says, sighing. “But I wasn’t able to argue with either Abram or Alina, after she replaced him.”

“Did Abram just not want to lead any more?” asks Eva.

Nika points at Alina. “He felt a prettier face and a younger, more talented soldier could get more people to hire the group. Alina always gave it 110%!”

“I see, I see…” Eva murmurs. “And the rose?”

“Well, after I was made the leader around… what, four years ago? I decided we needed a change in uniform.” Alina replies. “I wanted a symbol that could represent us, and, well… there was another soldier in our group.”

The girls seem to fall a bit quieter now.

“The life of a mercenary isn’t easy.” Valeria says. “One of our own, Marius, knew that.”

“He loved flowers.” murmured Nika. “The white rose was a favourite of his - he said it reminded him of a girl he had back home.”

“No…” Eva said, and Alina gives a morose nod.

“We were caught in a rough battle somewhere in Cosmo Land, near the Orange Star border, and ended up trapped and surrounded in the bowels of a history museum.” she says. “Marius realised we had no way out unless we could get rid of the soldiers closing in on us… so he took it upon himself to do it.”

“We’d placed several explosive charges along an entire part of the museum’s floor - but it couldn’t be detonated remotely. We were planning to trap and blow them up, but we were forced to retreat, and couldn’t get to the detonators.”

“So he ran for it.” Eva murmured.

The girls sigh, and nod. Nika tears up a little. “He did, yeah. Abram was ranting at him, telling him about his girl back home, saying that he would do it instead… but Marius just went. Last we saw, the entire east wing - about the Crusades or something - exploded, and he and the enemy soldiers fell into the bowels of the earth.”

“Marius was a hero in every respect. He gave his life for ours, so we chose to honour him with his favourite flower.” Alina explains.

Eva nods slowly. “I get it now. I see why it’s so important to you all.”

“It’s a reminder that we could lose one another at any moment.” Valeria says. “So we need to make every moment last.”

Sitting in a quiet, contemplative silence, the Snowbound Free Company continue drinking the rest of the wine. Eva is deep in thought - the story of Marius seems to resonate with her, but she can’t put her finger on why.

Alina eventually breaks the quiet with a long exhale.

“Alright, now. We’re not going to make this moment last if we keep feeling down about it. Marius wanted us to enjoy ourselves - want another glass of wine, Valeria?”

Valeria gives a gentle smile. “I suppose I could be convinced. We worked hard today.”