With the Monado’s power, the boys easily routed the Mechon on the bridge and then regrouped. “We’re heading for the Residential District,” said Dunban. “Once we’re there, we’ll need to find Fiora. She should be with the mobile artillery by the bridge leading to the Central Plaza, so we’ll head there first. Understood?” When Shulk and Reyn nodded, Dunban led the way across the bridge and out of the colony and then south, hugging the cliff face. There were a few scattered Mechon on the way, which the trio quickly took care of.
Shulk, Reyn and Dunban crossed the bridge leading into the Residential District when a huge Mechon dropped from the sky, landing right in front of them. The boys gave a shout of alarm and jumped backwards; as it straightened up, they realised it was the faced Mechon that had been terrorising the soldiers in the Military District. Its claws looked much sharper up close.
“It’s… massive!” Reyn and the others slowly backed away from it.
“That Mechon…” Dunban met and held its gaze, for it possessed what were clearly eyes, “it has a face?!”
“That don’t mean nothin’!” Reyn pulled out his weapon, Shulk and Dunban following suit.
“That’s right!” Shulk forced himself to remain calm. “Not when we have the Monado!” He and the others ran up to the Mechon, which cocked its head and made no attempt to stop them.
“Don’t think you’re tough just ‘cause you’re big!” Reyn smirked. He attempted to dig his lance into its foot, but to no avail. Reyn leapt back, growling. “Shulk! Cut it down with the Monado!” Shulk quickly complied, casting Enchant so his friends could deal damage. With a shout, he ran to the Mechon’s leg and slashed at it with the Monado – which bounced straight off it. Shulk fell to the ground, startled. He quickly got back up and attacked again, but the same thing happened – the Monado did nothing.
“The Monado!” Shulk cried. “It’s not working!” Seemingly amused, the faced Mechon raised one claw on his hand and waggled it from side to side, as a parent might to a naughty child.
“Oi!” Reyn called. “What d’ya mean?!”
“How can that be?” Dunban exclaimed. “The Monado should cut through Mechon with ease!”
But Shulk wasn’t listening. His eyes were on the Mechon’s arm; a long thin line stretched across the entire limb, and it appeared to act as some sort of vein, carrying a dark red light through it. In fact, Shulk could see many such lines covering the Mechon’s entire body, all filled with that same dark red light. “Wh- What is that light? Other Mechon don’t have that.” The faced Mechon slowly raised its arm into the air, a fact to which Shulk was oblivious. “Could… Could that light be why the Monado has no effect?”
The faced Mechon’s arm was fully extended above its head; it opened its claws.
“Shulk! Reyn! Get down!” Dunban tackled the two to the ground as the Mechon thrust its claws into the earth where they had been standing only a second ago. It pulled its claws out of the ground, watching them. “Stay back!” ordered Dunban. “I’ll take it from here!”
“No!” Reyn shouted, getting up. “You can’t take any more!” He pursued Dunban as he ran towards the faced Mechon. The creature merely flicked its wrist and slammed its claws into the two boys, sending them flying and coating them in electricity.
Shulk watched his friends roll across the ground and looked up just in time to see claws coming in to hit him; he cried out in pain as he joined his friends on the ground.
The machine was relentless; it wiggled its claws in excited anticipation of playing with its prey when suddenly it was blasted on its back and fell forward, having taken a powerful ether shot from behind.
“Everyone!” cried Fiora. “Get away, right now!” She set the mobile artillery into gear.
“Fiora!” For the first time in a long time, Dunban felt it: fear. He watched as she careered around the corner in the colony’s only remaining mobile artillery, its oversized wheels knocking over the Mechon in its path. The faced Mechon got back up and turned to watch her speed towards it.
The Monado flashed, and Shulk once again found himself watching everything without colour. He saw the mobile artillery’s guns blasted off by an ether bullet; then it slammed into the side of a house and fell to the ground. The faced Mechon had drawn its claws back, and then it sank them deep into the cockpit.
Shulk returned to the present. “What… What did I just…” The reality of what he had just seen began to sink in; once again, he envisioned the claws plunging into the mobile artillery.
“Fiora!” Shulk screamed. “Get back!” He watched, horrified, as the faced Mechon took a few steps towards Fiora.
Fiora couldn’t hear Shulk for the sound of the blood pounding in her ears. “I won’t let you hurt any more people,” she breathed. “We will save Colony 9!” The machine gun on the side of the artillery fired at the faced Mechon, but to no avail. The faced Mechon charged a blue ball of energy and then blasted off the artillery’s guns.
Fiora gritted her teeth. She had come too far to back down now. With the press of a button, missiles on the other side of the mobile artillery were loosed at the Mechon, but again did no damage.
“Fiora!” Shulk screamed. “Get out of here! Run!”
“You want more?!” Fiora roared. She had a crazed look in her eyes Shulk had never seen there before. The faced Mechon began to charge another shot; Fiora responded in kind by ramming the mounted gun on top of the mobile artillery into her foe, sticking it right into the Mechon’s face. They remained suspended thus until Fiora broke the momentary respite by firing the artillery’s gun directly into the Mechon’s face.
Both the faced Mechon and the mobile artillery flew backwards. The mobile artillery skidded across the ground; Fiora huddled inside the machine, watching as the smoke cleared from the Residential District.
She saw the eyes; glowing red, bright through the dust like embers. The left side of its face was blackened where the mobile artillery had fired into it. Pure, unadulterated terror filled Fiora as it made its way towards her. “How?”
Fiora didn’t move as it picked up the mobile artillery by its mounted gun and peered closely inside the cockpit. Then it turned, swinging the mobile artillery around and throwing it into the side of a house. Shulk twitched as Fiora screamed.
“Fiora!” Shulk shouted desperately. Dunban raised his head, watching the scene unfold. The faced Mechon was walking slowly towards Fiora now. It cast aside the gun it had ripped off the top of the artillery. When it reached its prey, it slowly drew its arm back, casting a glance at Shulk and Dunban.
“NOOOOOOO!” Shulk watched on helplessly as the Mechon sank its claws deep into the cockpit of the mobile artillery, and Fiora’s shrill scream rent the air.
Shulk slowly began to rise, using the Monado as a support. Dunban was in shock; he felt nothing. Reyn watched on in horror. The faced Mechon picked up the mobile artillery and tossed it carelessly behind it. Blood dripped from its fingers as it stared down at Shulk with contempt. Mechon swarmed the fallen machine to consume what was left of its pilot.
Shulk was on his feet now. White hot fury consumed him; he could think of nothing else. “I’ll kill you!” Shulk ran up to the machine and started to attack it, but the Monado just bounced off its armour. It brought its claws down on Shulk, who blocked its attack with his sword. It pressed down on him, and he struggled to keep it from crushing him. He glared up at its blasted face, willing it to go, to leave them alone, or better yet, to die…
Its face… As Shulk stared at the charred black mark an idea came to him. He rolled out from under its claws, which then struck the ground. He quickly jumped back up and grabbed a hold of its arm as it lifted it back up; he swung himself up on to its arm and then dashed across it, leaping forward with the Monado poised in front of him.
“Die!” The sword went straight through the weakened metal, and Shulk was satisfied to see it causing the machine much pain. It swung its head from side to side and the Monado slid out, taking Shulk with it.
“Shulk!” Reyn dashed up to his friend, helping him to sit up. The Mechon turned, brandishing its claws wildly. Reyn lifted his shield as it did so; the claws connected with Reyn’s shield and broke straight through it. Reyn cried out in pain and slid across the ground before slamming into a house and coming to a stop. He was out cold, and blood was beginning to seep through his clothes.
The Mechon turned to Shulk, and then paused. Its eyes started flashing, and it looked up at the sky. It gave Dunban a wistful glance before changing to its flying form and taking to the air.
Shulk watched in disbelief as it and the other Mechon left. To cause all this pain, kill all these people, destroy all their homes – and then just leave!?
Shulk didn’t move. All he could feel was his anger, burning so intensely that all he could do was scream. “NOOOOOOO!”
Images taken using Scalz311 (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/user/scalz311)‘s YouTube channel.