Xenoblade – Shulk's sacrifice
I would recomend finishing the game or at least getting a seven character party before you start to read this. There are some indirect spoilers, and as the story progresses certain key events and revelations will occur earlier than they do in the game.
"" = Spoken, ("") = Thoughts, Italics = whispered/subliminal, Bold = loud/overwhelming
An alternate Xenoblade storyline. Events diverge from the original plot at the end of the colony 9 assault, during the closing stages of the battle with Metal Face.
Metal face was about to carve up all three of them…then Fiora charged him. She must have already known what was going to happen. Even the air defence batteries hadn't marked that monster, so the mobile artillery had no chance. That shout was of absolute determination though…and it wasn't to destroy that thing…it was to save them.
Shulk knew in his heart exactly what was about to happen. The vision tore across his mind with ever increasing vividness. He's exhausted, the struggle with metal face pushing him to the brink. Reyn and Dunban are the same, both barely standing. There's one inescapable fact though. They aren't dead. And they aren't dead because Fiora has just put her own life on the line to save theirs. The vision sharpens further, colour now entering it. Shulk realises exactly what he needs to do.
"The future…is ours to create…"
Shulk charges metal face alone. The mobile artillery is being thrown around like a rag doll and he knows he's running out of time. He sees metal face raising its claw, the vision and reality now overlapping.
"I'm not gonna let you take Fiora!"
With the last of his energy Shulk leaps towards metal face with the Monado drawn. Thanks to his battle cry there's no element of surprise, but he's drawn metal face's attention away. A claw pierces his shoulder and upper chest. Metal face suspends him over the wrecked artillery, his blood dripping onto a semi conscious Fiora. Shulk loses his grip on the Monado, but he can't help but smile and he finds himself saying "looks like the future…really can be changed" Metal face draws back it's other claw to finish Shulk who finds himself relieved it's not pointing at Fiora.
"…Reyn…Fiora…Dunban…the future…is in your hands now…"
Fiora lets out a scream of pure rage and despair. She grabs the Monado and activates it, stabbing it through metal face's eye. It drops Shulk to the ground and recoils, by looks of things in agony from the attack. Fiora slices the wreckage around her apart and tries to reach Shulk, but he's engulfed by the nearby mechon before she can get to him. The mechon flee along with metal face. Fiora tries to give chase but collapses, battered from her ordeal.
"I'll hunt you down…I swear I will find you…and when I do, I'll ensure that you feel the pain you've inflicted here and then maybe you'll understand…"
Fiora is distraught, weeping openly on the ground. Reyn and Dunban reach her, relieved she is alive. With the danger past Reyn realises the full implications of what's happened. He picks her up, but it's clear he's in shock. Dunban directs him towards his house as he has some first aid there. Along the way Reyn keeps uttering "I couldn't protect him…I promised you, but I failed…I'm so sorry Fiora…You were right to doubt me". Once they get there they treat Fiora's injuries. Reyn slumps with his head in his hands in despair. Dunban offers him some sedatives, but he declines.
"It might take the edge off…but I'm not gonna be able to protect anyone if I'm out of it…Now I've just got to make sure this never, ever happens again, and there's someone else I need to protect, I owe it to Shulk. If I fail cos' I'm too busy wallowing in my own self pity he'll haunt me, and I'll deserve it…If you two don't mind I'll head out. By the looks of things we got hit pretty hard, If I can do something useful I think might deal with this a bit better."
As Reyn gets up to leave Fiora calls to him.
"Reyn…I know you did everything you could…so don't feel like you're in any way to blame."
"Thanks Fiora…I just hope I can tell myself that and believe it."
As he leaves he loses his composure, but manages to hide this from Fiora. With Reyn gone Fiora breaks down again and Dunban cradles her.
"Fiora…you went far beyond what anyone could have expected of you. You did everything you could to save Shulk, and both I and Reyn owe you our lives. I'm more proud to be your brother than I ever thought I could be…"
Dunban manages to hold his composure reasonably well, but tears start to form in his eyes.
Later on that night Dunban takes the Monado back to the weapons lab and encounters Dickson there.
"Dickson…I…I've got some bad news…"
"It's okay Dunban, I know…I just don't know what the hell I'm going to do now. I should have been there for him Dunban…I should've known he'd be willing to go that far...you wouldn't mind leaving me alone for tonight? I don't think I'm gonna be able to keep it together."
"I understand…I know how I'd feel if it'd been Fiora."
Dunban places the Monado back on its stand and leaves.
"Thanks…I'll see you later."
As Dunban leaves he hears Dickson starting to shout at the Monado.
"Why couldn't you have saved him!...no…We could have saved him…I can't blame all of this on you…I should have trusted my instincts over the plan this time...and you know something? Next time I will…"
The next day Fiora examines her remaining injuries. The concussion is fading, and most of the bruising is tender but not severe. Her most serious problem is her shoulder. It's so bruised the swelling has made it unstable and it's dislocated. Fiora twists her arm, jumping it back into the socket. The pain should be severe, but she barely flinches…it's nothing compared to pain of losing Shulk. Reyn comes to the house to see how she's doing.
"Fiora…glad to see you're already up, but don't push yourself; you had a rough time back there"
"Don't worry, no serious damage done. I'm going to the weapons lab, you wouldn't mind coming with me?"
"Okay, but if you're planning what I think you are, be very careful"
The two make their way to the weapons lab. Fiora picks up the monado. She flinches due to her injured shoulder, but simply switches arms since she's ambidextrous.
"You sure about this?"
"If it goes out of control just knock it out of my hand, it's not like it can cut you. I need to see if yesterday was just a fluke, it really seemed to obey me then"
Fiora activates the monado. It initially shakes, but she can hold it still.
"Do as you're told…you didn't save Shulk so you can help me avenge him…that is if you're not just some cursed old relic put here to torment us"
Its resistance fades when she gets angry. She takes a few swings with it, and finds she can now wield it.
"It wasn't a fluke; looks like we've got a chance now"
"The threat I made to that metal faced bastard…that wasn't idle. I'm gonna find him and carve the suffering of everyone here into him. Mechon are normally just like machines, soulless and unfeeling, but there was something different about him. I could swear he was enjoying the carnage he created"
"I'm with you there but we've still got a few problems…for one the Monado didn't actually work on him…that last strike of yours was the only thing that actually did any damage."
"That proves there's a way, and we're not going to find it sitting around colony 9. We need to head out, but not just for that…colony 6 might have been attacked as well...and besides, I need to get the monado away from Dunban. He pushed himself to the limit yesterday and I think he feels some responsibility for what happened to Shulk. He'd probably pick the Monado up again to protect us without a second thought right now…and I doubt he'd survive if he did."
The two of them go to see Dunban
"Dunban, yesterday that threat I made to that metal faced monster…"
"I know you don't make idle threats Fiora, but realistically Shulk was the only one who could wield the Monado, and even then it didn't work"
"I went to lab this morning…I can activate the Monado and with a little effort get it to obey me. I took one of his eyes so I know there's a way to hurt him as well"
"So you can use it as well now…perhaps I shouldn't be too surprised, one thing you certainly never lacked in was resolve, but be very careful, it has a will of its own. I got almost no warning when it turned on me; I only survived Sword Valley because it let me, for reasons I still don't understand, and it still took my arm."
"Don't worry, I'll be careful…Shulk gave me a second chance…I'm not about to waste it".
"He'd be as distressed as I am if he saw you running off looking for trouble with your injuries still fresh though. Take some more time to recover before you set out, make sure you're back to full strength"
"You've got a point, I'm still pretty beat up…I guess I can't hide it from you. Okay, we'll give it a few more days"
"Thanks, it might be worth having a look at Shulk's notes on the Monado. They're surprisingly easy to understand all things considered"
"Shulk always did have a knack for making complex things sound simple. I'll go do that"
Fiora heads out, presumably to the lab
"Reyn, can I have word?"
"Sure, what's on your mind"
"Take care of Fiora, and keep your eyes open for anything that might indicate the Monado is starting to turn. Unexplained pains in particular, that's part of why I want her to recover as completely as possible; any existing injuries might hide these"
"Got it…I'm not gonna let her down again, don't you worry"
"Thanks; I've some preparations of my own to make, but I should be ready shortly after you. I'll catch you up as soon as I can".
A few more days pass by. Fiora reads through Shulk's notes and tests her skills a little with the monado. She finds it's surprisingly easy to wield, seemingly the perfect weight and balance despite being considerably larger than one of her knives. Reyn secretly visits the doctor to find out about the cases of people injured trying to use the monado.
The two of them set out for Tephra cave once Fiora has recovered. Shortly after they discover the dead trade party.
"That's nasty…what did that to them?"
"Doesn't look like it was mechon judging by the wounds"
"….We'd better return them to the Bionis"
Reyn and Fiora return the bodies
"…Hope we don't have to that again any time soon. At least they'll be at peace now"
"We'd better keep our eyes open. Those were armed traders...anything that could do that to them is not something we want to tangle with"."I'm getting some bad vibes from this place…"
"We should get some sleep before we go on...Reyn, I'll take first watch"
While on watch the monado activates on its own and Fiora has a vision. She can see herself running towards a chamber in caves. As she makes it through the entrance she can see Reyn trying to defend himself against an enormous arachno. He attempts to block its attack, but it's futile in the face of the beast's overwhelming strength. She sees its mandibles tear straight through his gunlance; they don't even slow down as they pierce his chest and emerge from his back.
"What…what the hell was that!"
"Fiora, you okay?"
"Oh no…I think I understand now…."
The two of them are ambushed by spiders
"I hate these things!"
"This is bad…we need to get out of here Reyn"
"I'm with you 100% there…I think this way's gonna be fastest"
The two head deeper into the cave.
"You okay Fiora? Never knew you had a thing about spiders as well…"
"It's not that…the monado, it gave me a vision, I could see…"
Reyn is caught by a stray webbing strand and pulled into the room above
"No! hang in there Reyn, I'm coming for you!"
Fiora desperately looks for a way to get to Reyn. She then sees him running along the ledge above the lake.
"Arrgh, leave me alone! Don't these things ever quit?"
"Reyn, back this way…please!"
Fiora catches up with Reyn at the arachno queen's lair
"Oh no…Reyn, get out there now!"
The arachno queen moves into position to stab Reyn. Fiora draws the monado and charges in desperation. A new symbol suddenly appears in glass section. At the last second she manages to summon a shield, protecting Reyn from the strike.
"I…I did it!..."
"A new power…look out Fiora!"
Reyn intercepts and blocks a strike aimed at Fiora.
"Heh...this thing's got crazy strength; it just pushed me into the ground...and that says a lot about how strong this shield is."
"I don't think it's going to last long though Reyn; we need to take this monster down fast."
"Yeah, those pods are starting to move."
Reyn and Fiora take on the arachno queen and the spider swarm. While their shield fades, it gives them enough time to exterminate the swarm. With this done they find they can outmanoeuvre the arachno queen. Eventually Reyn's taunting gets the beasts attention and it loses focus on Fiora.
"It fell for it; it's all yours now Fiora!"
Fiora gets behind the arachno queen and jumps onto its back. It tries to shake her off, but Reyn smashes his gunlance into one of its front legs. The chitin shatters and the leg collapses; and the arachno queen crashes to the ground. Fiora uses the motion of the descent to drive the Monado through the back of its head. The beast becomes completely still; Fiora climbs off the deceased creature and makes her way over to Reyn.
"Huff...huff…Sorry Reyn. I just wish I could have warned you. The Monado gave me a vision of you dying…It nearly came true"
"Well, thanks to you I'm still here. So, what do you reckon that vision was?"
"I think it was supposed to be a vision of the future…but it looks like we managed to change it"
"Wait a minute…I think I understand now. Back when metal face attacked us, I remember Shulk's screams, he must have had a vision of you dying…"
"But what happened instead was…"
"That was the strangest thing; when he was hanging there…he was smiling. I think he must have realised, he'd managed to change the future"
"He saved me…why did it have to cost him his life?…why couldn't I save him?"
"You're the last one of us who should be thinking like that…I you hadn't made that charge we'd all have been mincemeat. Metal Face had us…and you stopped him. Fiora…I know I'm pretty bad with sensitive stuff so please bear with me…I think Shulk…was happier with the way things turned out than if he hadn't done what he did. I think I understand what was going through his mind…seeing your very best friend dying in front of you, and knowing you should have been able to do something about it…sorry…I'm welling up a bit here."
"You don't need to say anything else Reyn…I understand".
The two of them hug for a while, trying to comfort each other
"Thanks Fiora…we'd better get out of here before those bloody spiders come back"
The two of them emerge onto Bionis knee. The sight of Mechonis greets them.
"That's some sight…I wonder what things are like over there?"
"Maybe we'll find out; I've always wanted to be an adventurer you know. Between the struggles I can see just how beautiful this world really is, and I want to see as much of it as I can with my own eyes"
"I think I'm gonna enjoy travelling with you. You always did have this wonderful knack of making the world seem like a brighter place…
("She's really throwing herself into this, after all that's happened. No…it's more because of what's happened. She must be in pieces inside but she's still doing her best to cheer me up...If there's one consolation you can take Shulk…you saved the life of someone very special that day")".
While Reyn is a little lost in thought Fiora stealthily taps her fingers on his back, mimicking a spider
"Ahhhh, get it off me!"
"Hehehehehe! That'll teach you to zone out when I'm talking to you!"
"I hope I see the funny side of that later"
"Still gonna enjoy travelling with me?"
"…Yeah (blushes). Before we go any further though you might wanna get some rest. You didn't get any sleep earlier"
"I feel okay…"
"Trust me, the last thing you want is it catching up with you when things get a bit hairy"
"Oh alright…I suppose it won't hurt…you might want to be careful though Reyn, you're sounding more like Dunban by the minute"
Fiora ends up drifting off to sleep rather quickly. Reyn watches over her and takes the time to gather his thoughts on what's happened.
"I might be sounding more like Dunban, but you're the one acting more like him. You've got that same absolute determination to protect that he has…and sadly at the same expense to your own self-preservation. I made a promise to Shulk when we were little. I promised him I'd look after you if anything happened to him. I don't think I took it seriously at the time, but I know it was important to him, so I'm gonna make sure I keep that promise. Just don't forget, I'm here. If you're struggling, you need to get something off your chest, you can talk to me. You don't have to try and carry that burden yourself…that's part of what being friends is about"
Reyn stops as he realises he's thinking aloud. He looks over and Fiora doesn't appear to have stirred. He goes back to his thoughts, and looks up at Mechonis. Facing away from Reyn, Fiora smiles, having heard every word.
Meanwhile somewhere on Bionis a discussion takes place.
"It's not a total loss…"
"That foolhardy little cretin! Why did he have to go and do that! It'll take us decades to…"
"Are you listening to me? I said it's not a total loss; I think we may even already have found a substitute."
"You can't be serious, how could she be suitable?"
"Everything about her fits the bill. Even if she's only a temporary measure, she'd be suitable for the intervening time."
"…That is awfully strange. Convenient though; but I'm guessing there's a catch."
"Indeed there is. She's beyond our influence."
"Even stranger; do you suspect it to be a consequence of fate being disrupted?"
"Very hard to say; she's abnormally strong willed to begin with, but that's not entirely unexpected considering."
"I see your point. Her brother couldn't be directly influenced either and we had to resort to rather crude measures in the end with him."
"There's no need to be overly concerned, we might have to work in a roundabout way but we should still be able to ensure a meeting."
"Very well, I'll trust your judgement. That said we'll need to watch events very closely while they're still unpredictable; we'll commit to a more substantial plan once a cohesive vision of the future is available again."
"Hmm…something about this outcome does seem rather…ironic."
"Yes, we've always tried to avoid leaving things to chance…yet it was by chance we found him…and it's by chance she's taken his place."
"One more thing; our colleague's behaviour has become a little odd as of late. I don't think his loyalty is in doubt but he made it very clear to me he's no longer willing to stick to the scenario."
"I'm not terribly surprised, but I see no reason to be concerned. Given what has transpired he might actually be better suited to salvaging the situation than we are. As long as he doesn't do anything that would obviously be in opposition to our goals I believe we should let him do as he pleases."