The Let's Play Archive

Advance Wars: Dual Strike

by cosmicPostman

Part 81: Chapter 80 (Intermission) - Vainglorious Ascension

The soldiers always love a party after a big victory, especially at the end of a campaign, but with the complete erasure of the Black Hole Army, the party doesn’t end at the barracks - a few weeks later, back at Orange Star HQ, Nell has thrown another celebration in honour of the soldiers who defeated Von Bolt, and things are in full swing.

Several of the other countries’ COs have shown up, including the man of the hour, Javier. As he steps away from a conversation with Jess and Max, he is cornered by another man wearing a suit of armour, who comes crusading over to give him a proud salute.

“My good Sir Javier!”

Javier blinks. “Well, well! A knight with armour like mine… how unique!”

“I am Raynald of Châtillon, a noble crusader in service to the holy land!” the man says. “I simply wanted to express my appreciation for your efforts in the final battle!”

“Why, thank you! You, too, possess a noble countenance. I have heard your name mentioned by Sir my dude on several occasions! You fought heroically in that final battle!”

Raynald seems to beam with delight as he hears this. “Thank you, thank you! I simply do what I must for my country!”

Further away, Alina is staring intently at the pair. She nudges Nika, sat next to her with a glass of wine.

“Nika!” she hisses.


Alina gestures subtly over to Javier and Raynald. “That’s the crusader guy from Orange Star. I hadn’t seen him without his helmet before, but…”

Nika gasps. “That looks like…”

“It can’t be. But it might be Marius…” Alina murmurs. “Is it possible he survived? We should go and speak to him!”

“He looks very distracted by Commander Javier right now.” Nika replies, patting Alina on the shoulder. “Maybe we should wait it out. I mean, it could… it could just be wishful thinking on our part.”

Alina nods. “Yeah. Maybe I’m just hoping against hope…”


Nell and Rachel are sat at the far end of the room, enjoying the music and some drinks together. Rachel leans back in her chair, sighing with relief.

“It’s nice to be here, celebrating. We had such a long road to get here.” she murmurs.

“You did fantastically, Sis.” Nell replies. She smiles softly, observing the soldiers and COs enjoying their moment in the sun.

“My dude is taking it pretty far, though. He keeps talking about how he and Rose are practically invincible. And I know he’s right, but..!”

“I know he might be a little more arrogant than COs you’re used to.” Nell replies, gesturing over to my dude, on the dancefloor, surrounded by his soldiers. “But I never begrudge him these moments. Arrogance is having an exaggerated sense of one’s capability; I would say, however, that after defeating Black Hole three times in spectacular fashion, that my dude has earned the right to make such big claims. They’re hardly exaggerated.”

Rachel stays quiet for a moment. She nods, but slowly.

“Yeah… I suppose so. He’s so smug about it, though.” she grumbles. “I guess I’m slowly starting to see what you see in him.”

“You never did tell him what you did, did you?” Nell asks.

Rachel remains silent.

“You helped me set up the romantic dinner, and clean up the house, and bought the roses, on the night I proposed to him. You spent the whole time complaining, but… you did it.”

“I…” Rachel stammers. “I just wanted to make you happy, Sis. And he does that, somehow. Doesn’t really matter how I feel about him.”

“I’m glad you’re getting on more, now. He doesn’t seem to annoy you as-”

“Look at that!” Rachel interrupts, pointing a finger at my dude and Selena, who are now dancing together in the middle of the party. “That’s the one who likes him, isn’t it? And you’re just going to let them dance together so brazenly in front of you?!”

Nell gives a relaxed smile. “Some things never change. I am going to let them, yes. I trust my dude.”

“But- but- what if he and Selena are, y’know, when you’re away-” sputters Rachel.

“Like I said, I trust my dude completely. Besides…”

Nell turns to her sister, her face stretching into a wicked smile.

“I run the largest intelligence network in Wars World. Even if he wanted to, there’s nothing my dude could do without my knowledge.”

“…Sis, have I told you lately how terrifying you are?”


At the open bar in the function room, Michael pops up next to Dave and Alfonse, who are figuring out how to carry fifteen drinks back to their table on the other side of the room. “Hey, gents.”

“Michael. You’re looking well!” Alfonse says, grinning.

Michael displays his dazzling nails, painted a bright white, with a red star on each digit. Dave rolls his eyes, grumbling.

“He should be. He was in the bathroom for about an hour and a half before we left.”

“Yes, I know. I wanted to look my best.” Michael replies. “I mean, can you believe it? Three campaigns under our belts now. We’re practically veterans.”

“I’m barely twenty-one!” Alfonse cries. “I hope we’re not vets already.”

“It’s weird to think about, though. How much we’ve gone through, I mean.” Dave says, taking his beer and sipping it, raising an eyebrow. “Damn, Nell really got the best for this party. This stuff’s good.”

“I’ll take your word for it.” Michael replies. “Need a hand with those drinks, by the way?”

The gentlemen arrange the glasses on various trays, and once ready, they begin the walk around the edges of the dancefloor to reach the table where most of Orange Star’s soldiers are sitting around chatting.

“I suppose you’re right, Dave. I don’t know if my family back home would believe what we’ve done. The 11th Division are practically household names.” Alfonse muses.

“Michelle doesn’t believe a word I tell her whenever we call.” Michael says. “I’ve asked Gordon to send me some of his photos as proof, but we’ll see if that really convinces her.”

“When’s the last time you saw your sister?” Dave asks.

Michael sighs. “Not for a while. We’ve not had leave for some time since this Omega Land conflict started out.”

“Bet you’re glad to be home for a bit, then.” Alfonse says. “I’m going back to my parents’ house tomorrow morning, and I’m having lunch with my brothers. It’ll be nice to see them.”

“Lucky.” Dave replies. “To be fair, whilst we’re back in the capital, I should go and see Wilbert and Tina sometime. Apparently little Lucy’s quite the conversationalist now.”

“Oh, that’s cute - she turned three recently, didn’t she? Yeah, we should all drop by one day! We’ve got a few weeks of leave, right?” Michael asks.

“Six weeks, if I remember the memo correctly.” Dave says. “Ah, here’s the table. Right, who wanted drinks?”


As usual, Rose Kuroda is absent from the party, and is instead sitting on the stairs near the function room, sipping a small glass of champagne and pulling her face at the taste.

A figure comes stepping out of the function room, raising her eyebrows and giving a gentle smile - Vanessa. “Heya, Rose. Thought I might find you somewhere nearby.”

“I’ve never been much of a partier.” Rose replies, shrugging. “You look like you’re enjoying yourself, though, Vanessa. Bask in your victory. You really did earn it.”

“Ah, I’ve done enough basking for one day. I wanted to chill with you for a bit.” Vanessa says. She sits beside Rose and leans back, sighing.

“Well, you’re welcome to sit.”

“Thanks. I really gotta thank you, Rose. Over the last couple of years, I’ve been able to make so many changes that I thought were out of my reach.” Vanessa replies. “I’m an ACO now, and I might even be able to become a CO. Word on the grapevine is that you’re up for a promotion.”

“It would not surprise me.” Rose says, with a hint of smugness.

Vanessa chuckles. “Well, thanks for showing me how to pursue my goals without, uh, making a ton of enemies.”

“I learned that lesson long before I met you.” Rose says. “So I’m glad I was able to pass on that knowledge. Thank you, Vanessa, for being my friend.”

The girls sit in silence for a few moments longer, and Vanessa eventually grins and punches Rose’s arm.

“Aw, you’re too kind!” she says. “Man, I’m all fired up again. The strategist triad of Yellow Comet… we’re only gonna keep getting better, Rose! Isn’t that exciting?!”

“I suppose so. I’d like to go even higher if I can.” Rose replies. As she sometimes does, she thinks briefly of what being Empress of Yellow Comet might feel like, then dismisses the thought. “You, me and Sonja… we really have come a long way already.”

“Where is Sonja, anyway? I didn’t see her at the party.” Vanessa asks.

Rose gives a soft smile. “She drank too much champagne - Sami took her back to her hotel about an hour ago.”

“Hah! What a lightweight! That’s what she gets for drinking nothing but tea all the time, let me tell you…”


At the table where most of the Green Earth soldiers are relaxing - those that aren’t on the dancefloor, anyway - Mulligan seems a little ill at ease. He and Cassandra keep whispering to one another, and Howard has noticed.

“Are you two alright?” he asks, crossing his arms.

Mulligan nods. “Y-yes! Perfectly fine, dear. We were just discussing what a nice night it was.”

Cassandra goes red. “Yes! What a lovely night it is… so lovely, in fact, that Mulligan has something he wants to say, doesn’t he?”

Howard raises an eyebrow, and a few other people around the table, namely Conrad, Petra, Lorelei, Matilda and Henry, begin paying attention to the discussion. Mulligan stands up, taking in a deep breath.

“Mull?” Howard asks, staring up at his boyfriend.

And then the table falls silent as Mulligan gets down on one knee, pulling out a small black box, and opening it up to reveal a glittering ring with a small green gemstone embedded into it.

“M-Mull..?” Howard gasps, barely able to breathe.

“Howard, I’ve carried around this ring for half the campaign, and I promised myself I’d propose once the campaign was done. I can’t think of a better place to do it than here, surrounded by friends and family, so… will you marry me, Howard Miller?”

“Oh, my god, I always imagined it being just us two…” Howard replies, trying not to tear up, and glowering with mock fury at Mulligan. “…But you’re right. Here, amongst friends, is where we had our start, huh? Mulligan Zweite… yes, I’ll marry you.”

The table erupts into cheers loud enough to disrupt the rest of the party briefly, and the good news travels like wildfire. Soon, soldiers of all four countries are coming over to congratulate the lucky couple, whilst a delighted Cassandra slides over to Mulligan’s seat and nudges him in the stomach.

“Told you to take the plunge, didn’t I?”

“Yes, yes…” Mulligan replies. “Thanks for everything, Cass. Now I suppose I’d better start planning the wedding… you get no second chance to have your big day.”

Cassandra nods. “Whatever you need, I’ll be there. I’m so glad to see you both happy like this. I never expected our unintended service to Orange Star to have such a positive effect.”

Petra leans over from across the table. “The real question is, are you going to double-barrel your name or will one of you take the other’s?”

“I hadn’t thought about it.” Mulligan says, shrugging. “But ‘Mulligan Miller’ sounds far too silly. I’ll have to discuss it with Howard…”

Cassandra nods, and looks over at the Orange Star table nearby. Lucy catches her eye and gives her a wave, so she waves back.

“Our friends in Orange Star are a wonderful group.”


I exit the party for a few moments, totally worn out after dancing with Selena, then Lucy, then Nell, then Lucy again. I don’t recall where the bathroom in the venue is, but before I can find that, I find Rose using a landline phone in the lobby.

“Yes, thank you. …Yes, I know. I’m not changing my mind. Goodbye.”

She puts the phone down as I head over.

“Oh! My dude. It’s nice to see you.” she says. I nod.

“You too, kid. You’re being sorely missed at that party, but I guess it’s not really your scene, is it?”

“Not usually, no.” Rose replies. “Admittedly, I am considering going to the party now. It’s better than calling my parents.”

“Ah, is that who you were chatting to?” I ask.

Rose nods, a look of irritation crossing her face. “Yes. They were asking when I’m coming home… to which I gave them the news.”

“What news?”

“I’m moving to a small apartment near the Yellow Comet primary military base, in the capital. Me, Vanessa and Andromeda are splitting the place between us; I pulled some strings with my old government contacts to make the rent remarkably affordable.”

“Oh, nice!” I say, giving her a grin. “Sounds like a good idea. Your parents seem, uh…”

“Don’t get me started.” Rose replies, raising an eyebrow. “They just rang to tell me that they’re proud of me. It’s enormously frustrating.”

I’m about to ask why, but Rose turns her eyes to the ground, and I hold my tongue for a moment.

“You… were proud of me before I had done anything great. Tina was, too. Proud of me just for being me.”

“Of course, kiddo.” I reply. “You don’t need to prove anything to me.”

Rose smiles. “Thank you, my dude.”

“Thought you were going to say ‘my dad’ for a second again.” I reply with a grin, and Rose goes red, slapping my leg reflexively.

“I wouldn’t- that’s-” she stutters.

“Hey, you can call me that if you want. It’s cute.” I say.

Rose shakes her head, looking away from me again. “You’d make a terrible parent, my dude.”

“Definitely.” I reply, standing beside Rose in silence for a moment. I’m surprised when Rose suddenly hugs me tightly, before letting me go and looking up at me gratefully.

“But… I do think of you as one of mine.” she says.

For a moment, I’m too surprised to speak, but I play it off with a bit of a joke. “Ah, well, I’m not your dad, but I can be your fun uncle instead. I’ll be around to entertain you during all those boring meetings and the like, kid.”

“That sounds acceptable to me.” Rose replies, with a hint of a smile.