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Alternate Goddess

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Melia surveyed the scene. To be honest, she herself was doing quite well, having taken only a handful's worth of glancing blows from the Mechon surrounding the party. Riki was still in pretty high spirits, bobbing around haphazardly knocking Mechon across the head, but at present he wasn't really accomplishing much. The other four were not as fortunate; they were all battered and exhausted from the seemingly endless waves. It was as if the Homs' Mechon-mashing reputations from battles below the Bionis' waist had made Egil decide to target them more.

Of course, having the Monado disabled somehow wasn't doing them any favours. While the rest of the party wasn't having any trouble damaging the machines with their recently-acquired anti-Mechon weaponry, Shulk couldn't do a thing, and much of the fight's strategy revolved around trying to protect him from the two Faced Mechon while he attempted to activate his weapon. Everyone could feel that his morale was shot, and it was starting to spread.

Sensing that the fight was nearing its conclusion, Egil began confidently striding towards the group, directing Face Nemesis to wait behind him.

"I cannot allow this," the voice from the silver machine strained, clearly trying very hard to assist but not succeeding against Egil's overriding control. "That boy is at risk."

Egil ignored her and waved off the other Mechon, having them back off so he could have a clear shot. He began charging up a blue-tinged energy attack with his right hand.

"This is the end, Heir to the Monado."

Melia strained to raise a single ice elemental to at least cut into the surely massive attack's power; it was one of the last arts she still had yet to regain full control of following her Telethia-induced ether deficiency in Makna Forest. For a moment she considered diving in front of Shulk with Reflection active, a trick that had worked a few times in the past, but with no way of knowing whether it was a talent art incoming, it was far too risky an idea. Besides, that was Reyn's job, and he looked fairly ready to have a go. There was nothing more to do but wait.

"I won't let you do this!"

Without warning, Face Nemesis dashed forward into Yaldabaoth's back, knocking the energy ball free and into one of the silver tailfins.

"Fiora?!" Shulk leapt back to his feet, once again hopeful.

"How dare you defy me!" Knocked far away from the party, Egil had no choice but to engage with Face Nemesis, knocking away her twin swords with little effort. "Worthless machine!" He redirected her momentum into the central pillar of the room, causing a huge crash.

"Fiora!" Shulk looked about ready to run up to Yaldabaoth and attack, broken Monado or not. The rest of the party joined in his newfound energy.

"Egil...No matter how much you yearn for revenge, I will not permit you to have your way!" The silver faceplate lifted up to send a wave of red energy across the battlefield.

Egil was not pleased with this development, taking a large leap backwards out of the energy's range. "The Monado...But how?"

Confusion took over Melia's mind. What? "The Monado"? But Shulk has the Monado! And it- wait, did it just glow for a moment?

Shulk suddenly quickly looked around in surprise for a moment, a clear sign that he just had a vision. "No, stop!"

With the red energy now down to an immediate aura, Face Nemesis charged at Egil once more.

"...Will you die for them?!" Egil seemed more incredulous than anything else. In fact, he seemed a bit cocky.

The two giant machines collided and began pushing against each other. As the red light from Face Nemesis grew brighter, the blue light in Yaldabaoth's hand did the same. The massive waves of power triggered huge explosions throughout the fortress.

"YES!"

It was a new voice. It came from the silver Mechon, but it was not the same one that had spoken for it thus far - it was much more youthful and desperate.

"Fiora!" This time, it was all three of Shulk, Reyn, and Dunban shouting the name.

Egil reared his hand back. "Then you shall!" He punched the attack into his opponent's chest.

The resulting explosion dwarfed all the others, blinding everyone for several seconds. Once they could see again, the central pillar was almost completely destroyed, with the entire floor tilting downwards, sure to fall. Face Nemesis sat unmoving near the northern edge, with Egil flying away into the sky.

"Not good! Let's get out of here!" Dunban tried to run up the floor's new slope but failed, having to jam his sword into a crack to stay put.

"Shulk! Where are you?!" Reyn also had to brace himself with his weapon, the floor continuing to move.

Shulk was scampering down the hill towards the destroyed Faced Mechon. But just as everyone realized he was, the floor gave way, dumping everyone on it down towards the sea below.

It didn't take Melia long to enter skydiving formation to slow her descent; as a native of Alcamoth she was trained in such things. The others were all too surprised and confused to do similar themselves until they had fallen far below, winding up in three distinct groups: Reyn and Sharla to the south, Dunban and Riki to the west, and Shulk to the north alongside the destroyed Mechon.

Sharla and Reyn are paired up. Dunban and Riki are paired up. Assuming that the silver-faced Mechon remains inert, Shulk and I are alone. I appear to be the only one capable of aiming my descent to any reasonable degree, and also potentially the only one aware of where all of the others are. Therefore, I should pair up with Shulk, to ensure that none of us are alone.

It didn't take all that much time to dive down towards Shulk and copy his speed and direction. He seemed to be trying to get an angle on something inside the chassis' chest; from Melia's current position she couldn't see inside the destroyed body, but she presumed he was planning to extract the pilot.

Shulk's goal is valorous, but it is extremely difficult to believe that anything could survive such an attack at point-blank, especially trapped within a chamber that would likely amplify its power. Perhaps I should try to get him...oh my.

She could see the pilot now. She was very badly maimed; her left side had been obliterated, her right leg was in four pieces, and a huge shard of metal was lodged in her biological head. The expression on her unblinking face was that of determination. Shulk was clinging to the chassis, eyes closed and muttering something.

Melia was shaken. She had already seen enough death to last a lifetime, and this was the most gruesome one yet. She wanted to back off, let Shulk land in the water where the chassis was aiming towards, and let him have some time alone before walking to meet him from a few minutes away.

She didn't get to even the first part of the plan. The triangular plate on the pilot's chest, somehow completely undamaged, flashed red before leaping free and slamming into Melia's chest. There was suddenly a piercing pain in the back of her neck, and the world disappeared.