"This ever-optimistic mermaid maiden made a pact with her lover Kainoa, only to wait in vain for fifty long and lonely years for him to come back and marry her. Will the future she dreamt of--one where man and merperson can live side by side--ever come to pass?"
—XI loading screen profile
|Dragon Quest XI|
|Voice actor||Naomi McDonald (English)|
Ai Kayano (Japanese, XI S)
Michelle is a character who debuted in Dragon Quest XI.
Appearance and Personality
Michelle has a head to tail length of 6'2 (190 centimeters), and weighs 136 pounds (62 kilograms). She has coral pink hair that matches her scales and fin, and her eyes are light green like shallow seas. She wears a large bikini top fastened with a small red gem and features a scallop embroidery pattern, with several small tassels hanging from the underside. She wears matching gold torcs on both arms set in a swirling pattern, and on her hips she wears a turquoise wrap that becomes light purple as it tappers to either end. For accessories she wears a pearl wristband on both hands, and her wrap is adorned with a starfish brooch that is flanked by four beaded shell bands that hold it in place, and three small scallops hang from the center.
Michelle is a bubbly woman who, like all mermaids, speaks in rhyme. Having lived in isolation for some time, she is very happy to encounter the protagonists of the eleventh game and always addresses them with respect and courtesy. Michelle wears her heart on her sleeve, but her most powerful emotion is the love she has for her fisherman betrothed--she has caught herself gushing over him and speaking sappy lines in adoration, which she begs the player to not repeat to him. Michelle is incredibly patient as well, waiting years to be reunited with her lover and shouldering considerable emotional burdens thanks to her rock-solid faith in her happy future with her fiance. Her favorite food is scallops wrapped in sea grape leaves, her personal motto means enduring rough storms to enjoy the sunny skies, and her ideal mean is one who is as rugged as the crashing waves, as gentle as a sea breeze, and as laid back as the calm tides.
The Luminary and company first encounter Michelle shortly after departing from Puerto Valor, having run aground on a large sandbank hidden in an eternal fog known as The Strand. The party investigates their surroundings, with Jade inspecting a large tidal pool in the center of the bank. Upon placing her finger tips in the water, Michelle surfaces and confuses the Luminary for her betrothed Kai. After a brief scolding from Veronica, Michelle surfaces completely and apologizes for shocking the group. She explains that Kai is a fisherman from the coastal village of Lonalulu, and that they had made a promise to rendezvous on The Strand, and she has been waiting for him ever since that day. When Veronica expresses her doubts that a human and mermaid could ever be together, Michelle states that she to thought their romance would flounder--that the curse known as the mermaid's burden, which turns all women of the sea into foam the moment they become wet again after living on land, would sink their relationship.
However, Kai insisted that if Michelle could not live with him, then he would learn to swim and enter her world instead. With the blessing of the Queen Beneath the Sea, the two were planned to live in the mermaid city of Nautica. However, Michelle has been left waiting on the sandbank for a very long time, and is worried that something has forced Kai to break his promise: she begs the party to venture to Lonalulu and see if something has happened to her man. Veronica, remembering the myth of the Green Orb that is said to have sunk beneath the waves, agrees on the group's behalf on the condition that Michelle escort them to Nautica to speak with the Queen. The mermaid happily accepts, and the party is off to Lonalulu.
Upon arriving, the group finds that the fishermen are busy working out at sea and instead find Kai's mother performing a picture show for children. The tale is a warning against the mingling of humans and mermaids, stating that the village's greatest fisherman had sold his soul to a wicked mermaid in order to save his life after a storm capsized his boat. The fisherman was the pride of Lonalulu, having caught more fish and gathered more pearls than any other, and was engaged to the daughter of the village elder. Having been gone for days after the typhonic storm, the villagers set a funeral for the fisherman on the beach when he returned in his damaged vessel. The villagers were overjoyed to have their hero back home but quickly noticed a drastic change had overtaken him, as he now spent all his time staring out at the ocean and muttering that he must return to the mermaid that saved his life. Shunning all others, even his fiance, the elder banished him to Saikiki beach and had bis boat burned. Kai's grandmother ends the story there for the day, and the party question her on the whereabouts of Kai. The old woman corrects them, stating her son's name is Kainui and that all the village's men have sailed west to slay a monster that had stalked their usual fishing waters. turning the leviathan into calamari, the heroes escort the sailors back home and participate in the victory feast held that night.
It is here that they meet with Kainui, whom Veronica accuses of leaving Michelle high and dry. The young sailor explains that the Kai they are looking for was Kainoa, his grandfather. Brushing off Veronica's accusations, Kainui states that the picture show his mother tells the village children is a true story and took place fifty years ago. Picking up where his mother ended her show, he continues that a decade after Kainoa was chased from the village his ex-fiance married another man and bore a son. A monsoon struck the seas near Lonalulu soon after this, taking the lives of the village elder and his son-in-law. The villagers went to tell the elder's daughter of the tragedy, but she and her son were no where to be found--the superstitious seafarers believe it was the mermaid's curse, claiming all four lives in revenge for being unable to have Kainoa to herself. They stormed to Saikiki beach to interrogate Kainoa, but where terrified to see him standing there with a soaking wet baby in his arms. Veronica interjects and asks if this means Kainui's mother was half-mermaid, but the man shouts that his mother and he are fully human and that she was raised by Kainoa after being found stranded on the beach after the monsoon.
Kainui then states that if the mermaid is still waiting for his grandfather then he has something for the group to give her. Meeting at Saikiki beach, he hands the Luminary a wedding veil made by Kainoa and tells him to inform Michelle of the truth. Kainui explains that he hates Michelle for what she has put his family through, not realizing her blissful ignorance to the situation, and goes on to say that the villagers still whisper rumors about him and his mother behind their backs. He as only just now been allowed to sail with the other fishermen, and does not want the mermaid to reenter their lives when her "curse" is so close to being put to an end.
Upon returning to The Strand and informing Michelle of her beloved's passing, she enters harsh denial and insists that she be escorted to Lonalulu. Upon arriving, she keeps herself hidden in the coastal shallows as to not frighten the villagers and asks that Kainui be brought to speak with her. When Kainui arrives, Michelle is nearly brought to tears at the sight of Kainui and the sound of his voice, revealing herself to him as she perches upon a rock. However, her joy is short lived as she realizes the youth is not her Kai as Kainui points to his weather-worn grave on the beach. Mortified that her beloved had died alone in isolation, Michelle forlornly reflects that the lifespan of a human passes by so quickly for mermaids, who can live for five hundred years. Realizing the cruel irony that her time on The Strand was in fact passing too quickly without Kai at her side, Michelle thanks the Luminary for reuniting her with her lost beloved and states that his passage to Nautica can be found in the tidal pool she spent decades waiting in. Pulling herself ashore, Michelle dons the wedding veil and sings a bewitching song that transforms her into a human. Slowly making her way to Kainoa's grave on weak legs, she kisses the grave while lamenting the barriers between humans and mermaids, and walks back into the ocean--becoming the sea foam warned about in the mermaid's burden.
Later on, during the events of the game's third act, the Luminary is able to save Michelle from her sad fate. First, the player must peak with the elder of Lonalulu who explains that Kainui has gone missing since he set out to explore a sandbank surrounded by dense fog. Here Kainui and Michelle must be rescued from a horde of monsters that have surrounded them. Upon dispatching the beasts, Kainui thanks his heroes and explains that the monsters attacked his boat then threw him overboard. He awoke on The Strand sometime later, with his grievous injuries being tended to by Michelle. When the sea monsters returned to finish him off, Kainui stood his ground between them and Michelle as a voice in the back of his head told him "You gotta save her, Kai! You can't let her die this time!". Having never met Michelle before in the new universe, Kai is left confused by feels drawn to Michelle none the less. Michelle herself feels that she's met this Kai before. When either are spoken to again after this event, they recall vague memories of when they met in the previous universe before affirming that they'll stay together to insure one another is safe, with Kai telling the Luminary to let the Lonalulu villagers know he is alright.
Though it had taken a reincarnation and the birth of a new timeline, the lovers are reunited at last even if they have only begun to suspect the past they share.
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