Chapter 9 - Who Will Help?
Back on the island-city of Metru Nui, Takanuva sat on a rock in Po-Metru and sighed. It had not yet been long since he had returned to Metru Nui. He regretted the decision, since every day was filled with concern for his friends. Takanuva knew each one of those Matoran well and had developed strong friendships with them. Not knowing if they were alive and what they were doing stung at Takanuva. For now he did his best to set aside his worry by concentrating on the reconstruction of Metru Nui. Many Matoran had noticed that Takanuva had suddenly grown into harder a worker than he had originally be.
Takanuva saw Hahli walking towards him. What was the new Chronicler doing here?
"The Turaga request to see you", Hahli said. "They say it's important."
"That's strange", Takanuva muttered sarcastically. "Their news have always been so joyous before."
Hahli looked concerned. "To me, it seemed like they were very upset in you. I don't know why, though."
Takanuva gulped. What could this mean? He didn't want to go to the Coliseum, but knew he could not avoid it. So he left with Hahli and took a chute to the most revered building in Metru Nui.
Once inside the Turaga's chamber, Turaga Nokama asked Hahli to leave, leaving Takanuva alone with the seven Turaga of Metru Nui.
"You have acted very differently later", Dume said sternly. "Everyone has noticed this."
"I have felt like working", Takanuva tried.
"Six Matoran have disappeared from Metru Nui", Dume continued. "Matau's left-hand Matoran Tamaru, Nokama's right-hand attendant Macku, Whenua's left-hand and strongest worker Taipu, Onewa's left-hand master carver Hafu, Nuju's left-hand ice sculptor Kopeke and Vakama's left-hand Kapura. One from every Metru..."
"And conveniently the very same Matoran we let join your Kini-Nui company back on Mata Nui", Onewa said. "What do you know?"
Before Takanuva could answer, Dume added: "We suspect you told them of the Toa Nuva."
Takanuva looked down. He was feeling very uncomfortable. "We are going to die anyway", he said flatly. "The Toa Nuva have not returned. I thought we could do something..."
"We agreed to keep it a secret", Dume said angrily. "If we can't trust a Toa of Light to keep to his words, is there anyone in this universe we can?"
With that, Dume walked away from the chamber. Takanuva watched him go, wondering if he had failed his duty by telling a forbidden secret.
Toa Kopeke sat in the Matoran hideout with Dalu, Velika, Piruk and Balta. Dalu had insisted she be sent with Garan and the three Toa who went with him, but Garan had insisted she stood in the hideout. The Matoran told Kopeke about the history of Voya Nui, what the Piraka had done and every bit of detail that might be useful for the Toa's quest. Seeing as Kopeke was the most silent of the Toa, he made the best listener.
"You have to learn to speak out more, though", Balta said finally. "You know much about Voya Nui, but you must share that knowledge with your friends. That's why we wanted you to stay here - to learn."
"I will", Kopeke said quietly. Dalu shook her head.
"This one is still too shy. We must teach him to be more outgoing."
Kopeke did not appreciate the attitude of the heisty Ga-Matoran. Where he came from, Ga-Matoran were more like himself: quiet and contemplative. Here, apparently, they were rude and aggressive.
"I'm sure he will speak up when the time comes", Balta said. "Before you can obtain the Mask of Life, you must -"
The mechanisms of the hideout door creaked. Macku, Tamaru and Kazi entered with lots of supplies.
"Mission accomplished", Macku said, smiling. "These fruits will keep everyone nourished for a long time and with the wood you can build better defences against Nektann."
"Splendid", Balta said. "Now that you are all here, there is another thing you must do."
"What would that job-task be?" Tamaru asked.
"I will accompany you to a cave in the Desert of Sorrows", Balta said. "At this time of the evening, the desert is not as hot as it usually is, so even a Toa of Ice will not feel too bad there. Macku and Kopeke will come with me. Tamaru, you will go with Piruk to the Green Belt again, to map it."
Tamaru was surprised by his task. "Why?" he asked.
"We heard you used to be a navigator in your old home", Balta explained. "The Green Belt is a tactical point on this island. It is not very large, so mapping it should not take a long time. Once we have detailed information about its shape and location, we can be more secure with operating in that place."
"I will do it", Tamaru agreed, though he suspected the Ta-Matoran was not telling him something.
"This is bad", Taipu said as the Nektann-robots opened fire. Too bulky to dodge, Taipu was repeatedly hit with the blasts. Fortunately, his strong armor let him stand almost unaffected. He fired his laser drill at some of the robots, imploding them.
"We need the crystal in this cave", Hafu pointed out. "But we can't mine with these things in here. We will have to destroy all of them."
"Shouldn't be too hard", Taipu said, focusing his elemental power on the earth all around them. The mine started to shake and collapse.
"What are you doing, you kolhii-head?!" Hafu shouted. "You're bringing the whole mine down!"
"I - I didn't know I have so much power...", Taipu said with fear in his voice. He had sought to control the earth to crush the robots, but he had underestimated the amount of power he now possessed. The whole place was coming down because of him.
"The crystal!" Hafu exclaimed. "If this place is buried, we will lose the crystal!"
"The Matoran!" Taipu shouted. "Slaves they may be, but we cannot let them die!"
Together, Hafu and Taipu grabbed the zombie-like Matoran slaves working in the mines and carried them out of the collapsing cavern. The presence of Nektann and their constant attacks did not make things any easier. Luckily, there were not many Matoran around. Hafu was keeping them from returning into the collapsing cavern, blocking the way in the narrow tunnel with his body. However, Taipu actually returned to the cavern and started to burrow into the crystal.
"No! Taipu!" Hafu shouted. The mission was already lost, why was Taipu staying in there?
The cavern collapsed completely. Hafu shouted in horror and Taipu was lost from view.
Outside, Kapura had freed many Matoran before he had ran out of zamor spheres. The remaining slaves did something very unexpected - they started attacking the Toa of Fire. Before, they had been more than happy to ignore anything going on around them.
Garan gasped as Reidak, Avak and Hakann entered the scene. He then understood the change in the behavior of the Matoran slaves. The Piraka had commanded them to attack.
"Toa Kapura!" Garan shouted. "Three Piraka!"
Kapura was fending off the attacking Matoran, doing his best not to hurt them. He would have no chance to concentrate on the Piraka with all these wannabe bad-guys harrassing him.
Hakann Avak fired a Zamor sphere at Kapura. Nobody was sure what happened next. Kapura was fighting the Matoran, noticing the sphere too late to dodge it. Then his mask seemed to take control over his body, allowing him to get down incredibly fast. The Zamor sphere struck a rock.
My mask... it let me dodge the sphere, Kapura thought. A mask of dodging? Or something else?
"Impressive", Hakann sneered. "The last great deed you will ever do."
Garan would not let these Piraka get them without a fight. He fired a ball of energy with his pulse bolt generators. The blast grew bigger as it traveled, eventually hitting Avak with considerable force.
"Get the Matoran", Hakann said to Reidak. "I will get the Toa."
"Why do you get the Toa and I the Matoran?" Reidak complained. "I want a challenge, you hear..."
Another pulse bolt struck Reidak, sending him flying.
"You already have a challenge you can barely handle", Hakann snorted. "Just get the Matoran!"
Kapura tried creating a barrier of fire around himself. Due to his nature, the wall was also electrified, making an effective barrier. However, the Matoran simply walked into the electrified fire, heedless of the danger. They burned and got shocked and Kapura gasped. He had specifically avoided hurting the Matoran. He quickly cancelled the barrier.
Hakann was approaching when Hafu suddenly darted out of the mine tunnel, followed by few surviving Nektann. The Matoran slaves had stayed in the tunnel, confused with the disappearance of the mines where they were supposed to be.
As soon as he saw Hakann, Hafu activated his Kanohi Sanok and used his Laser Axe as a sort of Kolhii stick to throw a boulder at the Piraka. The boulder struck naturally and felled Hakann. Hafu then proceeded to save Kapura from the Matoran slaves.
"I ran out of zamor spheres", Kapura explained. "But you still have some left. Free these slaves!"
After saying that, Kapura used his unique abilities to appear beside the now-recovering Hakann. Kapura pointed his energized flame sword at the Piraka. "Stay down or I will burn you."
"You would not do that", Hakann laughed. "You are a Toa. I know their stupid rules... they never kill."
Kapura realized he could not bluff with these foes around. They were obviously more skilled with hunting Toa than he realized.
Hakann didn't even bother firing his lava gun at Kapura. He knew Toa of Fire were resistant to fire and heat. Instead, he struck with a mental blast, staggering Kapura. If he expected that to defeat the Toa of Fire, however, he was going to be disappointed. Kapura had thousands of years of experience in mental discipline and training. Although the mental shock was powerful, it would not defeat Kapura.
Nearby, Garan dodged Avak's zamor spheres and Reidak's blows. He considered calling the other Toa for help, but knew they would help him as soon as they were ready with their own problems.
You don't need to be a Toa to be a hero, Garan reminded himself. A pulse bolt distracted Avak while Garan slipped underneath Reidak and hit his legs, toppling the Piraka.
Garan was about to rise, but Reidak quickly got back to his feet and grabbed the Onu-Matoran. "It's time I broke your neck!" he growled. A perfeclty aimed rock hit Reidak's hand, forcing him to let go of the Matoran. Hafu stood by his Matoran friend now, laser axe charged and ready for combat. Nearby, the freed Matoran hid behind big boulders, watching the conflict. None of them were enslaved anymore, sparing the Toa from additional trouble.
However, the Piraka were not concerned by this. Avak leaped to the nearest Matoran and grabbed him, shouting at the Toa: "Surrender now, or we will see to it that these Matoran will be killed!"
Some of the Matoran tried to run away, but Avak launched zamor spheres at them, re-enslaving them. The rest wisely stood still.
This was a threat the Toa had to take seriously. Protecting the Matoran was their sworn duty. If they kep fighting, Avak could doubtless kill many Matoran. Even if the Matoran were enslaved, they would still be alive - but from death, there was no turning back.
After hesitating for a long time, Kapura, Garan and even Hafu dropped their weapons. None of them wanted to do it, but duty dictated otherwise.
"It has always been true and still remains so today...", Hakann said. "Duty creates the strongest of chains."
Next: What happens to Kapura, Hafu and Garan? What happened to Taipu? What of the fate of the universe? What is cheese really made from? Please review this chapter to let me know what was good and what needs to be improved.