Posted Oct 20 2011 - 06:25 AM
Chapter Four It did not take the two Toa long to find the place the bartender had described to them. It was indeed a ruined building, completely nondescript. No one would think to look for information on the Dark Hunters here, which was probably why whoever used it hid here, Nasis decided. Once they reached the building, Nasis knocked on the door. The entrance creaked open slightly and two red eyes glared out at him. They grew wide momentarily, almost as if the eyes’ owner recognized the two Toa, before they returned to their normal size. “What do you want?” the eyes asked harshly. Nasis raised the tablet with the Tarakava on it and said, “Barc has a request.” “Oh, he does?” said the being, her eyes locked on the tablet. “Exactly what does Barc want? And why did he send two rather pitiful-looking Toa to get it for him?” “Actually, Barc doesn’t want anything,” Ahova said quickly. “The bartender at the Tarakava’s Fist just gave us that pass key so we could find out some information. I don’t know who Barc is, but his name sounds really weird, I must say, and I wonder if-“ “Okay, I get it,” the female hissed. “Come in. There isn’t anyone following you, is there?” Nasis and Ahova looked around. They didn’t see anyone, so Nasis said, “No, there isn’t.” The door opened wide enough to allow the two Toa in, but it did not open all the way to let them see inside completely. Ahova gave Nasis a worried look, like she was asking, “Are you sure about this?” But Nasis just shrugged, like he said, “No, I am not, but let’s do it anyway.” The two Toa entered the building as the door closed tightly and ominously behind them. - As it turned out, someone had followed been following the Toa, ever since they had left the Tarakava’s Fist. He was a squat, gray colored being with purple accents on his armor. He had wide, skeletal wings and a short spear that fit his stature. His face appeared to be stuck in some kind of snarl, but as he crouched low on a building, watching the pair enter an unknown structure, it twisted into a puzzled expression. Just what are two Toa doing on Stelt, of all places? the Dark Hunter, codenamed Vanisher, wondered. Toa aren’t exactly popular here. These Toa look like Tanjo Nui Toa, but that still does not explain what they are doing here. I will have to investigate this further once they are finished with their business in there. - Nasis and Ahova had entered a cramped two-story building. It was too dark to make out many specific features, but Nasis thought he could see a desk and a few bookshelves filled with dusty old tomes along the walls. Nasis heard someone’s footsteps and then a lamp flickered on, although it still did not light the place up very well. It didn’t show him much more than he already had, although he could see Ahova and the other female now. The female was indeed a Skakdi, as the bartender had said. Nasis had never seen a Skakdi before – since travel to and from Zakaz was forbidden by law – but he had heard about them and this one fit the description quite well: Large white grin that was more than a little creepy, spikes running along her back and arms, asymmetrical arms and clawed two tone feet. Even in the light her orange and white armor looked more than a little animal-like. Nasis didn’t know for sure, but she did not seem at all surprised to see the two Toa, like she’d been expecting to see Nasis and Ahova. There was no way the Skakdi could have known they were coming to her, yet that was exactly how she looked to Nasis. “What do you want from me?” the Skakdi growled. “Barc sent you because he thought I’d have something you’d want, isn’t that right?” “Yes,” said Nasis. He now speculated that ‘Barc’ was the bartender’s real name. “Can you tell us your name first, though? I’m Toa Nasis and this is Toa Ahova. We are both from Tanjo Nui.” “Tanjo Nui? I never liked that island,” the Skakdi growled as she picked up a dusty old map of what looked like Nasis’ home land. “All your pious worship of the Time Stone makes me sick. But to be polite, my name is Kafor and I will happily kill you if you get me angry.” Nasis hoped she was joking, but her deadly serious tone made him think otherwise. It also made him wonder whether Ahova’s apprehensions about Stelt were correct. Being locked in a room with a being as violent and easily provoked as Kafor made him feel more than a little frightened, to say the least. “Right,” said Nasis, as bravely as he could. “Well, we need information on the Dark Hunters.” “Information on the Dark Hunters?” Kafor repeated in a low tone, like she feared someone might be eavesdropping. Nasis wondered if everyone on Stelt did that whenever the Hunters were mentioned. “Impossible. Not that I don’t know anything about them, but they, well, they value their privacy quite a bit. They’d be willing to kill someone who knew something she shouldn’t. Know what I mean?” “Totally,” Ahova said. “I mean, the Dark Hunters are just a group of nasty murderers, thieves, liars, arsonists, brutes and a whole host of other unmentionable adjectives that I can’t think of at the moment. Never liked them, so I can understand why you’re worried about telling us about them. I think I would be, too, if I was in your situation, but I’m not in your situation so I can’t really-“ “Do you remember what I said about killing you if you got me angry?” interrupted Kafor, her voice murderously low. “Because you are getting me very angry right now due to all of your nonstop talking.” “Hey,” Nasis said to Kafor. “Don’t threaten my friend or we’ll leave.” Kafor snorted. “I don’t care. I don’t like Toa anyway. I’ll be quite happy without the two of you in my life.” Nasis gritted his teeth. This would be harder than he thought. “Well, we need that information. Barc said you could give us what we need to know.” “And what if I get killed because of it?” Kafor asked, irritably tapping her fingers on her desk. “I can’t risk my life for two Toa, especially since I don’t know how trustworthy you two are.” “Have you ever given information on the Dark Hunters to anyone else before?” asked Nasis, deciding to take a different approach. “Yes.” “Yet you’re still alive,” the Toa of Iron pointed out. “Therefore-“ “But that was once, and they almost got me that time,” said Kafor quickly. “Do you wonder why I live here? It’s because the Dark Hunters never come around here. I am safe as long as I keep quiet.” “I didn’t think Skakdi could keep quiet,” Ahova said. “Well, this Skakdi can,” said Kafor, turning around with her arms folded. “Leave while you still can. Anyone who chases the Hunters eventually ends up dead.” “Sorry, but we aren’t going away that easily,” said Nasis firmly, folding his arms just like her. “Kafor, if you tell us what we need to know, we’ll make sure that our source doesn’t get known to the Dark Hunters.” Kafor look over her shoulder at him, eyeing the Toa suspiciously. “Really?” “Truly,” said Nasis, nodding. “Toa are honest and trustworthy. We wouldn’t be very good Toa if we sold you out to the Hunters, would we?” “We’ll also pay you,” Ahova offered, “if that is what you are interested in, that is.” Kafor thought about that for a minute. Clearly, she still did not like the idea, but she said, “Okay, fine. I will trust you . . . for now, Toa Nasis. But if the Dark Hunters come knocking at my door, I’ll know who to kill.” “Sure,” said Nasis, although he did not like the sound of killing. “Do what you will.” Kafor turned back around and asked, “So what do you wish to know about the Dark Hunters? Their history? Their membership? What?” “We need to know about the Dark Hunters’ most recent thefts,” said Nasis. “What they’ve stolen, when they’ve stolen it, that sort of thing. We just need to know what their most recent thefts have been within the past week. That’s all.” Kafor stroked her sizable chin, like the request intrigued her. “Why’s that? Did they steal something from you?” “Yes, they did,” said Ahova, nodding quickly. “They stole the Time St-“ “Ahova, quiet!” Nasis snapped, but Kafor had apparently heard enough. “The Time Stone?” repeated Kafor interestedly. “The most sacred object of your homeland? The one that has supposedly never been successfully stolen in the entire history of the universe? That explains what you two are doing here. Searching for it, are you? Think the Hunters stole it?” Seeing that Kafor had found out so quickly, Nasis shrugged and said, “Pretty much, yes. We know they have tried to steal it before, but have never succeeded until possibly now. We need to know whether they stole it or not.” Kafor began skimming through her books, evidently searching for the documents that contained what she was looking for. “Hmm, my books aren’t quite up-to-date. I only have their records of recent thefts from last month.” “From last month?” said Nasis. “Then how are we supposed to know whether they have it or not?” “Storm Odina?” Kafor suggested, almost idly. “Then again, seeing as no one outside of the Dark Hunters know where it is, that’s probably not going to work. Kidnap and tor- er, I mean, interrogate a Dark Hunter until he tells you what he knows?” “I don’t like any of those ideas,” said Nasis. “If we kidnap a Dark Hunter, we’d have the whole organization on us. We don’t need that; we just need to know whether they have the Stone or not.” “Fine, fine,” said Kafor, swatting a bug that was buzzing around her head. “Okay. I’ll ask my contact within the Hunters to give me the records of thefts from this month. When I get the info, I’ll send you a trained Nui Rama with my findings. How does that sound?” “Oh, well, sounds great,” said Nasis, somewhat taken aback by her generous suggestion. “How long will that take?” “Normally, it would take only a couple of days, maybe a week at most,” said Kafor as she put her books back up. “But with the war against the Brotherhood, it might take a few weeks. Like I said, I’ll send a Nui Rama directly to Tanjo Nui when I get what I am looking for.” “A few weeks?” Ahova said disappointedly. “But the Time Stone can’t wait a few weeks!” “It might have to anyway, Ahova,” said Nasis. “Isarot and Kiriah are- erm, I mean, they’re working on finding it themselves. Maybe they’ll find before we do.” Nasis was trying to be very careful about what he said to Kafor now. She already knew the Stone was gone; she couldn’t know that the guardians were on a dimension-hopping journey as well. He feared that Kafor would blabber about the Stone’s theft to someone and soon everyone in the universe would know about it; but as long as the whereabouts of the guardians remained a secret, he hoped it would not attract too much attention. “Isarot and Toa Kiriah are the current Time Stone guardians, aren’t they?” Kafor said interestedly. “What are they-“ “Like I said, they’re trying to find it with their own methods,” said Nasis, his tone making it clear he did not want to go into any more detail. “So, a few weeks, then?” “Probably, yes,” said Kafor, who sounded slightly disappointed at not learning anymore juicy details. “I’ll send you a trained Nui Rama with the message once I get the info.” “Thanks,” said Nasis. “Don’t thank me, Toa,” Kafor snapped. “I cannot fully trust that you will not sell me out to the Dark Hunters, at least not yet.” “We won’t,” Nasis swore. “We’ll never say even one word about it to anyone. Promise.” “Promise,” Ahova repeated, nodding. “Then where is my payment?” said Kafor, eying Nasis’ bag. “The Toa of Magnetism said you would pay me.” “Not yet,” said Nasis, shaking his head. “We will pay you later, once I have something to give you, for at the moment I have nothing valuable on me.” “When will you pay me, then?” Kafor demanded. “As soon as you deliver the information to us,” Nasis said calmly. “I’ll send you some gold or whatever you want. We can probably pay for your services.” “I see,” said Kafor, stroking her chin again. “All right. Gold it is, then. I will take gold armor for my services.” Nasis was taken aback by this request. “You mean a full suit? I don’t know if I can-“ “Take it or leave it, Nasis,” said Kafor, arms folded again. “I won’t change my price and if you say no then that means no info on the Dark Hunters for you.” Nasis wasn’t sure how he’d be able to make a suit of gold armor for her that would actually fit, but he shrugged and said, “Okay, Kafor. Gold armor it is. We’ll send it to you once you get the information, as payment for your services.” Kafor grinned satisfactorily, showing all of her large Skakdi teeth. Then she pointed at the door and said, “Go, then. I don’t suppose you have any further reason to stick around here, do you?” “No we don’t,” Nasis agreed. “Good bye, Kafor. We’ll, er, maybe see you later.” “I hope you never do,” Kafor muttered under her breath as the two Toa left the building. Review Topic.
Edited by TNTOS, Oct 20 2011 - 06:29 AM.