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The party wakes up in the morning, only to realize that the hero has slipped away in the night and is gone. "Oh damn, he went alone" ensues, as it's obvious the hero went on a dangerous solitary errand - or worse yet, went to fight the Big Bad alone.
This trope covers all kinds of important sneaky departures on behalf of major characters.
It's an unplanned (or is it?) one-man variant of Let's Split Up, Gang!. The hero might just value their freedom, despite being a good team player so far. Maybe This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself, or just wants not to endanger the party, or not to be hindered by them. Additional points for a Heroic Sacrifice, where he did it to win the More Hero Than Thou argument in advance, not so many if we have a Face Heel Turn, but even more points for proving to be a Fake Defector. After all, sometimes In the End You Are on Your Own. Often indicates an upcoming Duel Boss.
In RPGs this might lead into a "follow the splitter" episode, or a Solo Sequence where the player gets to control the splitter. If the splitter is a Guest Star Party Member, they might just leave with very valuable equipment on them.
- Lord of the Rings - Frodo splits, though is soon followed (and joined) by Sam.
- In Azure Bonds, a Forgotten Realms classic, Alias runs on her own into the besieged Yulash and ends up freeing Moander. Later, Akabar leaves Olive's company in a similar fashion, invisible.
- Final Fantasy 7 has Aeris leave the party and get killed by Sephiroth.
- Cloud attempts it early in the game, but Aerith meets him at the entrance to the next Sector.
- Sagacious Zu in Jade Empire, around the time you infiltrate the Lotus Assassin headquarters, a decision he advised against.
- Zelos does this on a few occasions in Tales of Symphonia, including the Tethe'alla Base and Flanoir. He's actually a spy for Cruxis and the Renegades.
- Adelle does this late in Final Fantasy Tactics a 2.
- In Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, Layton does this and when he comes back, it's actually Don Paolo in disguise, and so does Luke later on due to being upset by his father planning to move, separating him from Layton.
- Pinocchio in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. While Gepetto says he's happy as long as Pinocchio is around, Pinocchio blames himself for them being stuck inside Monstro and wants to find a way out, sneaking off to do so.
- Tintin comic "Explorers on the Moon" has Frank Wolff sneak out and sacrifice himself to save oxygen for the rest of the team.
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: Rudolph feels he's endangering the others because his nose attacts the Abominable Snowmonster, so he leaves them in the middle of the night.
- In the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "The Awakening", Aang feels he needs to regain his honor by fighting the firelord alone, and so he sneaks off the ship that the gang is currently hiding out on.