Welcome to Gunpoint a one page shrine to Dirge of Cerberus's Shalua Rui. In general I am usually annoyed when they add new characters to an existing canon that already has tons of great characters. I find it very hard to relate to newer characters because I tend to be a loyalist. I feel like they throw someone new into the world hoping to expand it but often feeling as though they mess it up! I can be very picky! However, I was pleasantly surprised with the gun-toting old sister, Shalua. Although she is a side character appearing in very few chapters, I feel she has a very important role. In addition, she's an older sister who regrets being unable to help her little sister and continues to search for her. Some might notice, that I am particularly fond of older sister characters because I can (in general) relate to them. This site is text-centric and full of spoilers.

Dirge of Cerberus takes place three years after Final Fantasy VII, a year after Advent Children. It follows the journey of Vincent Valentine as he works (unofficially) for the World Regensis Organization (WRO). While visiting Kalm for a celebration it is attacked and Vincent is drawn into the battles. Over all, the game itself follows Vincent's struggle against deep ground and the being Chaos. He crosses paths with Shalua in chapter 3 and ends up fulfilling her final request.

Shalua is a scientist that works for the WRO and she offers support to the organization. WRO is a transitional military and government that has replaced Shinra Electric; they are backed by a not-so-anonymous benefactor. Shalua joined the WRO to find her sister; she utilizes their resources and in turn gives her services to them. When the world is attacked by the mysterious Deep Ground Soldiers, Shalua believes it will be her chance to save her missing sister. Her sister, Shelke, was taken by Shinra years ago as a SOLDIER candidate, but after the organization fell there was no sign of her. Shalua continued to search despite protests from those around her. This is something I respect about her, she won't give up. She continued doing what she believed was right. This shows her dedication if not her most stubborn personality quirk.

Shalua has a prosthetic left arm which functions as her life support. She is both a scientist and a soldier; she lost her left eye and many internal organs from her work with the WRO. Shalua also has many biomechanical implants in her body which keep her living while she searches for her sister, her reason for living. She seems to be very devoted to her sister to the point of dedicating her life to find her. People try to deter her but she will have none of it. Her stubborn personality is another thing that draws me to her. Shalua will do anything to find Shelke, even at the cost of her own body. If anyone tries to stand in her way, she merely puts a gun to their head. Nothing but her sister matters to her and I know what that's like. For Shalua, I believe that Shelke was her first friend, her best friend, at the end of the day, her little sister - when everything else went to hell, Shelke was there. At least, until Shinra took her.

I also very much relate to Shalua's belief that everything is connected and that everything comes around eventually. Shalua believes that all things return to the life stream and that eventually it all comes back around. This is how she reassures Shelke after their mother passes away when they are children. She keeps hope and continues to try moving forward despite what others may say. She is a pillar of support for those around her. I also believe this is what keeps her searching despite people's protests. I think she keeps going because she knows one way or another, she will meet Shelke again. On one hand, if Shalua finds her alive that would be a hopefully happy reunion. On the other, if Shelke is dead all Shalua has to do is die to be reunited with her sister. But she refuses to believe that Shelke is dead until someone can prove it.

She is both stubborn and proud, willing to sacrifice everything for her sister (but only to the point that she can be reunited with her). I believe that more often than not Shalua believed that Shelke was alive, she just needed to be found. Shalua continues her search despite having lost an eye, a limb, and several internal organs leading me to believe that more than anything she wanted to live and be reunited with Shelke. At the very least, Shalua refuses to die until she can meet with Shelke and apologize. She refuses to believe anyone when they state that her sister might be dead. She befriends Yuffie as a sort of older sister and later asks Vincent to look after Shelke. But this act of valor is not met without sadness from Shalua.

Before we get into what happens with Shalua, it might be a good idea to explain how she met Vincent in the first place as it is through this encounter that we learn her reason for living as well as how steel nerved she is. Vincent first meets Shalua in the rain covered Edge. As he turns the corner he draws Cerberus, she draws her own gun and they stand off at gunpoint. Shalua is quite disappointed that Vincent isn't her "reason for living" but eventually the two meet an agreement: they're not enemies. She also reveals that she works for the WRO (well Vincent notices her badge, close enough), but there is little other exchange here. Vincent doesn't have the time to "deal" with her and she wastes little time dealing with him. This scene is why I decided I loved Shalua. She held Vincent at gunpoint while being held at gunpoint and had no qualms about being snarky or dismissing him. She is strong and independent, realizing that while she's seeking her goal there will be trouble, and she is capable of handling herself and won't let anyone stand in her way. For me, her strength is thrown onto the table in this scene. It's raining, Edge is under attack, and she doesn't know if Vincent is an ally or an enemy, but she doesn't care. She does exactly what she has too, cautious of the dangers of traveling alone. She expected to meet trouble, that's why she left armed. She strikes me as being methodical, her determination already shows with the years she's spent looking for Shelke.

Shalua is reunited with Shelke and becomes disappointed when Shelke doesn't remember who she is. Shelke merely identifies with being a deep ground soldier. After it is decided that Shelke is a liability, Shalua sacrifices her life to get her sister out safely. She pushes Shelke through the closing doors, using her life support arm to keep the doors opened long enough to speak. She urges Vincent to take care of Shelke while offering her apologies to her younger sister for "letting her suffer for so long". The doors slam shut on her arm. This particularly bugs me because I know I'd do the exact same thing for my sister. I still don't believe that Shalua intended to sacrifice herself, I never will. Shelke was Shalua's reason for living and despite Shelke not remembering her it just doesn't strike me as Shalua to throw in the towel. I think of it in terms of choices. Shalua quickly determined that she would die or Shelke would die - she didn't have to think about it. Shelke will live. Everything Shalua did was for that kid, so it came as no surprise to me when the doors slammed shut on her arm - it did surprise me however, that she was found. Shalua is later found by WRO members. She is held in the medical bay of Cid's airship, Sierra (Shera). She spends the rest of the game comatose, doctors uncertain if she will live (or awaken) or not.

Shelke doesn't understand why Shalua is so important. She makes it a point to point out that she thinks the sadness over Shalua's passing is ridiculous. Vincent remains silent but Yuffie breaks down and slaps Shelke. Yuffie states that Shalua did everything for her and that Shalua was a wonderful and kind friend. Yuffie is genuinely hurt by Shalua's condition. Shelke still doesn't seem to understand and wonders what is going on with Yuffie. I feel that this shows what kind of woman Shalua was over all. She was, at the very least, friendly to girls younger than her. I presume that she treated many girls Shelke's age exactly as she would have treated Shelke. She has friendships with Reeve and Cid too, so she's not entirely without charm or trust. Vincent looks after Shelke because he knows what it's like to lose someone he cares about, but I don't think he understood fully, what Shalua was asking him to do. I would rarely trust anyone with the well being of my sister so for Shalua to ask Vincent (because he was there, because he was capable) is a very real, very important thing. It shows that Shalua trusted him as a man of good character as well as being capable enough to make sure nothing else happens to her. She refused to believe anyone about Shelke and whether or not she might be dead before and she kept searching, doing what she believed was right. For Shalua it has always been about one thing, finding Shelke and apologizing. It had been about giving her sister a better life. In case of asking Vincent to look after her, it would be a safer life.

Near the end of the game when Shelke has been kidnapped again, Shalua visits her. The older sister is still comatose but asks Shelke if it's okay for her to return to the life stream. This is, I believe, something similar to Zack and Aeris walking the life stream to look after everyone. The sisters are interrupted by Vincent storming the gates, but Shelke is surprised to see that she still has tears left after having told her sister "NO". For me, this shows Shalua's devotion to her sister. Even though she's dying she is still thinking about Shelke. She knows that if she leaves that it might cause harm to Shelke and she tries to reach out in what might be her last moments to her sister. It shows me that Shalua is still not willing to leave or give up on her sister despite what's happened. Even though Shalua asked Vincent to look after Shelke, she still makes sure to take Shelke's feelings into consideration.

At the end of Dirge of Cerberus the airship crashes and Shalua is seen held in the recovery capsule. Bathed in light, she looks beautiful but the tube is cracked, her life support potentially gone. It is never stated what happens to her. She merely fades into the background with the battle won. I would have loved to see WRO trying to get to her, Cid tearing down the sky, Vincent rushing to her side - anything to give proper closure on what might have happened with Shalua. In the final scenes of the game, Shelke is seen at 7th Heaven and later waiting for Vincent outside of Lucrecia's Cave. Shalua could, theoretically, be alive just comatose. I like to believe that, because in general, no one really dies in Final Fantasy VII. At the very list there is quite a list of people that should have died that didn't (Rufus, Tseng, I'm looking at you). As a side character she has a huge impact on those around her, especially Vincent who acquires a little sister at the end of the game. I believe that Shalua decided he would be the most suitable person to look after Shelke and left it at that, but I would have loved to have some closure for a bad ass sister who did everything she could.

Shalua's devotion to her sister and her stubborn behavior is too much like my own. I enjoy seeing strong female characters that care for their sisters. I relate to it (yes, I fancy myself strong). And I appreciate when media gets that sisters cacn fight and be close, or they can be apart and never stop loving each other. Shelke may not "remember" Shalua, but her tears are proof that her heart still loves her.

Credits and Disclaimer

I do not own Dirge of Cerberus, Final Fantasy VII, Shalua Rui or any recognizable characters on this site. This is merely a tribute to someone I adore. Shalua Rui and all recognizable characters are copyright to their glorious and respective owners. Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII © Square Enix 2006-Present. Gunpoint © Snow Rayjah 2013.

Gunpoint coded in Notepad, best viewed on Firefox in 1280 x 1024 resolution. Banner images from Dirge of Cerberus with textures from Hybrid Genesis, Lost and Taken, and Celestial Star. I.F.C. LOS BANDITOS font from Da Font. I do not own Final Fantasy VII or Shalua Rui. All recognizable characters are copyright to their awesome and respective owners. No copyright infringement or dishonor intended. This is just a fansite. All thoughts and opinions expressed are shameless views of the author, Snow Rayjah.

Many thanks to Mikari and Cherri for being the best sisters ever.

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