The latest casualty of the Monado lay at the trio’s feet amid scattered scrap metal. “Nice one, Dunban!” said Reyn excitedly. “You didn’t waste any time on them Mechon!”
Dunban didn’t reply. Instead, he turned to Shulk, concerned. “Shulk! Where’s Fiora?”
“The Residential District,” Shulk replied. “We said we’d meet her there.” They all turned to stare at the broken tower blocking their way.
“Looks like we’ll have to take the long way round,” said Reyn.
“All right,” said Dunban, “then we cut through the Commercial District.”
“Yes!” Shulk agreed. Reyn nodded. The three of them made their way back across the bridge and into the Commercial District. It was empty; the Mechon that attacked them must have come from there, Shulk realised. They were going to leave the main hub of the colony via a bridge from the Commercial District, travel south and re-enter via the other entrance leading into the Residential District. Then, hopefully, they would find Fiora and a fully functional mobile artillery.
Dunban ran ahead of the other two so they wouldn’t see his struggle. He could feel the power of the Monado tugging on his mind, trying to make him to surrender control of his body. He gritted his teeth; that could not happen. Not after the events of Sword Valley; it had nearly killed him.
They reached the bridge leading out of the colony. The symbol on the Monado brightened, and more electricity ran from the blade to Dunban’s body. He cried out in pain, trying desperately to keep his grip on the sword. But the Monado flew out of his hand and slid across the bridge as Dunban fell forward on to his palms and began to choke.
“Dunban!” Reyn caught up to him and knelt down beside him; Dunban was shaking uncontrollably, breathing hard and fast. “You can’t take any more of the Monado!” he said firmly.
“But I must!” Dunban looked up at the sword lying in the middle of the bridge. “I don’t have a choice!” He coughed and stared at the ground; it was splattered in blood. He fell silent, shivering all over. Reyn stared at him, not quite sure what to do.
“Reyn’s right.” Shulk slowly walked towards Dunban and Reyn. “You can’t go on like this.”
“Shulk!” With an effort, Dunban looked up at Shulk standing beside him. Surely, he’s not…
“Dunban.” A fresh wave of Mechon had almost reached the entrance to the colony. Shulk steeled himself, and then ran out on to the bridge. He stopped beside the bright red blade and picked it up, swinging it behind him before bringing it back to his front. “This time…” Shulk activated the Monado, and the blue blade shined brilliantly, “It’s my turn!”
“Shulk, NO!” Dunban roared. “It’ll kill you!” Dunban began to fear for his friend when he ignored his warnings. “Shulk!”
Shulk gripped the sword tightly; electricity licked his wrists and ran up his arms to his shoulders, but went no further. He could feel a strong pull on his mind, trying to take control of his actions. Then it subsided, and with a roar, Shulk charged straight towards the Mechon.
The symbol on the Monado flashed, and Shulk realised that something was wrong. All the colour had been drained from his surroundings. Everything was slowed down; his movements, the Mechon’s, the sound of the wind. The only thing that seemed to be operating at normal speed was his mind.
A spindle-legged Mechon which resembled a spider with four legs stepped forward. Its main body was hanging between its legs; it was shaped like a raindrop with the wide end pointing towards the ground and a golden ring suspended around it. The point at the top of its body began to glow blue, and then an ether shot was loosed at Shulk. It was too fast; he tried to dodge it, but it hit him squarely in the chest and he was blasted on to his back.
Then the world righted itself, and Shulk found that he was running toward the group of Mechon like nothing had happened.
The spindle-legged Mechon stepped forward, and the point at the top of its body began to glow blue. On a hunch, Shulk immediately stepped to the side, and the Mechon fired its shot. It whizzed past him and collided with a building situated at the entrance to the Commercial District.
“What the?!” Dunban stared as Shulk leapt high into the air and brought the Monado down on the spider-like M42.
Shulk looked up at an M82 directly in front of him. It brought its arm back behind its body; the Monado shone brightly and once again, Shulk found that the world had slowed.
The M82 slammed its claw on the ground beside Shulk, and he fell to the ground. He tried to get up, but its other arm swung around and knocked him to the ground.
As soon as his vision was over, Shulk took a long step to the right, avoiding the claw which dug into the ground. He took another quick step forward and the Mechon’s claw flew uselessly through the air. Shulk immediately followed up by slashing the machine’s main body with the Monado.
“Wow,” said Reyn in wonder, “Shulk’s pretty awesome!” How did he learn to fight like that?
Dunban was stunned. He watched as Shulk stood still, panting, at the end of the bridge. “How can this be?” he murmured. “Shulk is using the Monado.” If Shulk could wield the Monado, they might just be able to destroy the Mechon and save the colony. He could feel his strength slowly returning.
Shulk’s mind was racing. “What was that?”
Reyn looked up at the sky; little black spots were falling towards them, growing bigger by the second. “Shulk! More company!”
Dunban heaved himself to his feet. “Reyn!” His voice sounded strained.
Reyn straightened himself, eyeing Dunban warily. “Right!”
An M42 was making its way towards Shulk; Dunban dashed towards it, picking up Shulk’s discarded sword on the way, and then knocked the creature to the ground.
“Reyn! Dunban!” Shulk glanced back and then returned his attention to the claw attempting to crush him. He flicked it away from him and then slashed the offending machine.
“I got your back!” Reyn’s last word was punctuated by a swipe at an M42, which jumped backwards to avoid his attack.
“Shulk, do you feel all right?” Dunban asked, concerned.
“I’m okay.” Shulk turned away from the approaching Mechon so he could see Dunban. “But there was something strange. Just now…” Shulk braced himself for ridicule, “it was as if I could see into the future.” Dunban straightened up and stared at Shulk, thinking hard. “Is this another power of the Monado?”
“See into the future?” Reyn repeated, sceptical. “What are ya saying?”
Mildly irritated, Dunban ignored Reyn. “Are you certain? Shulk!” He gave Shulk a beady stare.
Shulk seriously considered his answer before replying. “Yes.”
“I see.” Dunban turned away from Shulk. “I remember Dickson saying that the Monado had a hidden power,” he muttered. “Could this be it?”
Shulk could hear Dunban talking, though he couldn’t make out his words. “What?” He had no time to think; the Mechon were upon them. He and Dunban leapt away from each other, towards the Mechon that were assaulting them on either side of the bridge.
Dunban slashed his sword across the chest of an M69, which then collapsed. Why is Shulk able to use more of the Monado’s power that I ever was, and so quickly? He attacked an M72 and then quickly followed up with another strike, knocking it to the ground. He has been studying it for a long time… Another M72 approached; he tried to stab it, but it caught his sword in its claws, breaking his train of thought. “Don’t think about it now!” Dunban called to Shulk. “Just believe what the Monado showed you and fight!”
Shulk sliced through the legs of an M72. He looked over at his friend. “Got it!”
“The Monado will respond to your thoughts,” Dunban continued, “so just think about casting Enchant, and it will happen!”
Shulk hesitated, and then closed his eyes. Dunban and Reyn kept the Mechon away from Shulk.
“Monado… Enchant!” Shulk swung the sword around himself and opened his eyes. He, Reyn and Dunban were all covered in a bluish-purple aura.
Dunban beamed. “Excellent, Shulk! Now, let’s destroy these Mechon and meet up with Fiora in the Residential District.”
Images taken using Scalz311′s (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/user/scalz311) YouTube channel.