Teridax studied the three shadow Takanuva who blocked his path. They had been sent by the Makuta Teridax of this universe – the one who controlled the giant robot inside of which millions lived – to kill him and his companion, Mazeka. It was a good plan. After all, one Takanuva would be a challenge – three corrupted ones were deadly.
Teridax had multiple powers of his own to choose from. In his time and in his universe, he had been a great warrior. No doubt Makuta expected him to pit his energies against those of the Takanuva in an apocalyptic final battle and, outnumbered, die horribly after a few minutes. Mazeka would most likely not even last that long, though the Matoran would make sure his killers remembered the fight.
Ah, Makuta, thought Teridax. We are the same being in different universes, but I am not you. You’re a plotter … a schemer … not wanting to get your claws dirty, if you can avoid it. You would think of all sorts of ways to fight the Takanuva from a distance … all of which would fail.
Teridax unlimbered his war hammer. You would never think of doing this.
He charged. Before the startled shadow Toa could react, Teridax had swung his hammer, striking one Toa in the face and shattering his mask to pieces. Whirling, he landed another hammer blow to the chest armor of a second Toa, cracking it down the center. Mazeka moved in then, catching the third Takanuva with a scissor kick and sending him to the ground. Teridax made sure he would never be getting up.
The now mask-less Toa staggered forward, firing shadow energy from his hands at random. One blast caught Teridax in the shoulder, badly damaging his armor. The warrior from another dimension did not have the luxury to feel pain just then, or worry about the antidermis escaping through the gap. He landed a side kick in the Toa’s middle, while swinging his hammer again to stop the charge of the other Takanuva. The latter, still in the fight despite badly damaged armor, created a swirling fog of darkness to conceal his movements.
“Let me,” whispered Mazeka.
The Matoran stood completely still, reaching out with all his senses. He knew that at any moment, the shadow Takanuva could strike and kill them both. But he could not dwell on that fear, not if he hoped to survive this battle.
There! The slightest scrape of boot on rock, about three feet behind him and to the left. Mazeka leapt, whirled in mid-air, and lashed out with a kick. His foot connected with the Toa’s mask, knocking it askew but not dislodging it. Even as his momentum carried him forward, Mazeka landed a second blow to the shadow Toa’s neck. Enraged, the Toa hurled tendrils of darkness that began to strangle the Matoran.
“Your friend is doomed,” the evil Takanuva said, smiling. “You’ll just beat him by a few --”
There was a sickening crunch. The shadow Toa’s face went blank. He staggered forward one step and then collapsed, revealing in the process just how much damage a war hammer in the hands of an expert could do. The tendrils dispersed and Mazeka scrambled to his feet.
“Where’s the third one?” asked the Matoran, as the darkness dispersed around them.
“There,” said Teridax, pointing to the north. “And there,” he added, gesturing toward the west. “Oh, and there’s some over there,” he finished, casually glancing to the east. “His mask was shattered. I thought he might like to join it.”
Mazeka chuckled. “You know, Toa wouldn’t approve of this … they don’t kill.”
Teridax shrugged. “Very noble … but considering the state of this universe, maybe they should have bent the rules a little more.”
“Try telling them --” Mazeka began.
Teridax held up a hand to stop him. “Wait. Something’s … something’s wrong. Quick, grab my hand!”
Mazeka did as he was told, even as Teridax began to teleport. The world blurred and vanished around them. When it reappeared, they were standing back on the ridge above the abandoned village. A violent tremor was shaking the ground and Mazeka could barely keep his feet.
“As I hoped,” said Teridax, wearily. “We escaped the worst of it.”
“The worst of what?” demanded Mazeka. “What just happened?”
“Your Makuta … has fallen,” said Teridax. “We need to keep moving, but first … first, we had better find some way to patch my wound. I prefer to walk out of this universe, not float.”
Taipu was used to the darkness. He was, after all, an Onu-Matoran, who had spent most of his life in the Metru Nui Archives or deep in mines. Of course, it was one thing to choose to live in the dark, and another to have all light suddenly extinguished around you.
He took stock of the situation. He was lying face down on the floor of an upper level of the Archives. The air was filled with dust. The lightstones were all shattered. Something extremely heavy was on top of him, making it impossible to get up and quite difficult to breathe. All of this was the result of a massive quake that had just struck Metru Nui, followed shortly after by a not quite as devastating aftershock.
Taipu tried to yell for help, but could only manage a hoarse whisper. This wasn’t a very good way to die, he decided. But it seemed to be one he had gotten stuck with.
Then he heard something. Someone was digging nearby. Maybe they would find him? He tried to yell again, but wound up choking on dust.
There were more sounds. He could hear voices now, familiar ones. Someone was yelling for others to keep digging. The terrible weight on his back was suddenly gone. Taipu felt two strong hands grabbing his wrists and pulling him out from under the rubble.
He looked up to see Tamaru and Macku were his rescuers. Not far away, Kopeke was helping other Onu-Matoran who had been caught in the quake. Macku propped Taipu up against a wall and dusted off his armor. “Are you all right?” she asked.
Taipu nodded. “What happened?”
Macku pointed up. Taipu looked and saw a massive hole, and beyond that, blue sky like he remembered from the island of Mata Nui. It had only been recently that Taipu and the other Matoran had learned their “universe” was the inside of a giant robot. Now someone had evidently punched a big hole in the robot’s head.
“I think Makuta ran into someone tougher than he was,” Macku explained. “Pretty sure the robot’s dead, and my guess is so is he. We’re going to need to get everyone out of here and hope there’s someplace outside we can live. But in the meantime … well, there are a lot more people trapped like you were.”
Taipu got to his feet. “Then I’ll help.”
“You need to rest,” said Macku sternly.
“I didn’t rest at Kini-Nui when those Rahi attacked,” Taipu replied. He looked around at Tamaru and Kopeke hard at work. “I don’t know where Hafu and Kapura are … but it looks to me like the Chronicler’s Company lives again.”
Macku smiled. “All right, then, old friend. Let’s get to work.”
Kopaka threw his weapon onto the sand slumped down a rock. He was tired, all the way down to the core of his being … tired of fighting and running and fighting some more. It seemed like that was all he had done since he and his teammates had arrived on the island of Mata Nui more than a year before. As he looked over the Bara Magna battlefield, and the hulking corpse of Makuta’s massive robot, he wondered if at last it was over.
He had answered Tahu’s call with all of the Toa Nuva, except for Lewa. Side by side with other Toa and the inhabitants of this world, they had battled Rahkshi, Skakdi, and vicious, black-armored warriors as well. Tahu had single-handedly defeated the Rahkshi, and the others had battered the rest of Makuta’s army into submission. The Makuta robot had been struck on the back of the head by an astral body and fallen faster than an avalanche on Mount Ihu. Now, one by one, Matoran and other inhabitants of the robot were emerging from the ruined shell into the sunlight of a new world.
Using his powers to create an ice ramp, Kopaka traveled over the treetops of the new jungle. He wanted some time alone.
Finding a likely spot, miles away from where the other Toa and Glatorian were assembled, he sat down to contemplate his future. The destiny of the Toa Nuva had been achieved, so he always had the option of giving up his Toa power and becoming a Turaga. But he had no real wish to wind up running a village or outpost somewhere.
He could always just retire from adventuring, of course. This was a whole new world for him, with plenty of places to explore and maybe even someplace to settle. It might be nice to do something besides battle for his life all the time. Of course, he had no idea what that “something” might be, but one thing he did know – there was no way he could lay down his weapons until Lewa was found.
The Toa of Air had been missing for days. It was possible he was simply in some other part of the robot and would be emerging. But he might also have been wounded or waylaid. As annoying as Lewa could be sometimes, he was a fellow Toa Nuva and … a friend. Kopaka made a silent vow to find him wherever he might be.
The first step would be to talk to the other Nuva and organize a search. Before he could do that, though, something extremely strange caught his eye. A section of the robot’s surface was simply disappearing. There had been no explosion, no heat, no sign of the metal being cut. One moment it was there, and the next it was gone.
What was even more bizarre was who emerged from the hole. A small army of Skakdi; a strange, golden-skinned creature; and … the Toa Mahri! The heroes did not seem to be hostages or prisoners. In fact, it looked like they were quite happily acting as beasts of burden for the Skakdi.Lewa will have to wait, I’m afraid,
thought Kopaka. I need to get to the bottom of this, for the Mahri’s sake if nothing else.
Fortunately, the new plant life created by Mata Nui provided a lot better cover than a desert ever could have. Kopaka trailed the Skakdi and their mysterious “allies” for miles. When they came to the shores of the ocean, the troop came to a halt. The Skakdi could be seen talking and gesturing to the golden-skinned creature.
The creature nodded once and turned to look at the cliffs beyond the beach. Before Kopaka’s startled eyes, a massive castle took shape atop the highest of the rock formations. The walls were made of stone and the towers bristled with weaponry. All of Metru Nui could probably have fit inside it, with room to spare. This is extremely not good,
thought Kopaka. One Toa Nuva can’t do anything here. Let’s find out what five can do.
Lewa Nuva was in the middle of his own mystery at the moment. Transported to someplace called Bota Magna along with Toa Helryx, Vezon, Toa Tuyet, Miserix, Brutaka, and others, he had found himself in the presence of someone claiming to be an imprisoned Great Being who sought freedom. The members of his party had immediately fallen into debate on whether it was wise to free someone with so much potential power and evidently a tenuous grasp on sanity. Lewa rapidly grew tired of the argument and found his way out of the fortress.
The area in which he now stood was one of the most beautiful he had ever seen, even more stunning than the jungles of Mata Nui. He used his power to soar above the trees, taking in the majestic forest, beautiful rivers, rolling fields, cybernetically enhanced giant reptiles, and –
Lewa circled back for a second look. Yes, that was a lizard, roughly forty feet high by the Toa’s rough estimate. And yes, it did have a laser targeting system in place of one eye, its teeth were polished metal, and its tail was covered in circuitry for its entire length. The Toa of Air watched as the beast pursued a smaller and much faster reptile. The prey looked likely to escape … at least, until something flashed from the giant’s mechanical eye and the ground exploded in front of his quarry. The smaller reptile flew backwards, tumbling end over end, and landed hard on the forest floor. The larger reptile swallowed it whole.And we thought we had Rahi problems on the island,
thought Lewa. They grow them big here.
Swooping down for a closer view, Lewa spotted movement on the forest floor. This time, it wasn’t reptiles, but villagers not too different in size from Matoran. They were marching at a steady pace, seemingly unaware of the proximity of the massive predator. Lewa decided he had better warn them.
Landing some distance away, so as not to startle the natives, he waited for their approach. As soon as they saw him, they spread out as if to surround them. He kept his arms at his sides, not wanting to appear hostile. Now that they were closer, he could see they were quite different from Matoran in some ways. They carried very crude weapons, axes and spears and clubs made from wood and rock. While they did wear armor, it was a strange hybrid of metal and plant life.
One of the villagers, obviously the leader of the patrol, stepped forward and addressed the Toa. But Lewa could not understand anything he said. He tried to use gestures to convey the message that a huge reptile was not far away, but the villagers did not seem to get it, or else just didn’t care. They seemed much more fascinated about him. A few of the braver ones poked and prodded him, as if they had never seen his like before.
Now the leader was making gestures of his own, evidently asking Lewa’s point of origin. The Toa of Air smiled and nodded, trying to show he understood, and pointed in the direction of the fortress. There was an immediate murmuring among the villagers, not at all a happy sound. The next thing Lewa knew, the points of countless spears were at his throat.Oh,
thought the Toa of Air. It’s going to be this kind of day.
Angonce studied his ancient equipment. It told him much about the state of the newly restored Spherus Magna. Mata Nui had gone dormant, at least temporarily; the original Mata Nui robot and its prototype had both been destroyed; the nanotech inhabitants of Mata Nui had somehow survived and were emerging onto Spherus Magna and interacting with the local inhabitants.
The Great Being should have been pleased by all this. After all, it was he and his brothers and sisters who had created Mata Nui and sent the robot on its mission, which culminated in the restoration of the planet. But things had changed a great deal in the last 101,000 years. What might once have been cause for celebration now provoked very different emotions.They will seek the Great Beings now,
he thought. They will want to tell us that all is well. Toa and Glatorian, Matoran and Agori, will join together on this ‘joyous’ mission. But all is not well … and if they go in search of those who brought so much glory and so much misery to this world … I fear they will find nothing but death.
TO BE CONTINUED IN THE NEW SERIAL “THE YESTERDAY QUEST,” STARTING SOON!