BZPower Short Story Contest #8: Title Twisters
Comic 24: Shadow Play
Author's Note: A few probably FAQ's: This takes place in an alternate universe where Ko-Metru astronomers have already discovered Bara-Magna before Mata-Nui was awakened. A secret organization of exclusively Matoran called R.A.M.A. defend and do covert operations when necessary. It is exactly 5,724 words. Hope you enjoy!“Wait for my mark. Ready, go!” Commander Kira signaled with her hand. The dark and light blue matoran was anything but conspicuous in Voya-Nui’s jungle, but with all the missions under her belt, she knew what she was doing. Unfortunately, none of her other fresh recruits did. Commander Kira was one of the leaders of the most elite undercover organizations on Metru-Nui. Code named R.A.M.A., or Resistance Attacks of the Matoran Area, they specialized in the missions The Order didn’t. They had broken into many Makuta’s lairs and stopped attacks planned on the Matoran. They’ve stopped another rising of the Bahrag, and all of these great missions were led by Kira, who has been with them from the start. Of course, no one had heard of them, but that’s because they’re so good. At least, most of them. This mission was a training exercise for the new ‘Makuta Fodder.’ About half were asleep in the bushes, and most of the others were messing around with their new gear. A Lava Hawk fell from the sky in a fiery explosion as a recruit tried target practice. Such maneuvers would give them all away in a normal mission. Com. Kira tried to hide her face as a huge explosion shook the forest. She tried signaling again, but just a few sleepers got up and looked her way, then promptly fell back asleep. Only Verius could sympathize with her. He was the only recruit that was used to such vigorous training and orders. He was actually an Agori, and one of the new test subjects. The standard issue camouflage backpack had been bulked up with a built-in Spinner Launcher, with a netting power. His green and tan body was covered in a lightweight armor. Even his seemingly insignificant combat knife packed a miniaturized Cordak Pistol. Every look Kira took at it was filled with envy as she looked at her huge, bulky, double barrel pistol. Desperate times call for desperate measures, thought Kira, and she whistled loud and long. All the recruits stopped what they were doing and the sleepers got to their feet. Kira looked around, expecting an ambush any second. When she was sure that they were safe, she turned around to face the now orderly recruits. She began pacing in front of the recruits, which they now recognized as an indicator she was about to give a speech. A few groans sounded from the back and Kira fixed the general area with a piercing stare. “Now then, you are by far my worst training group so far. I have never had such disobedient, lazy, or distracted recruits yet. If you want to survive, we need to reach that volcano. Our mission goal is there, and if we don’t reach it by night, we fail, but even worse than that, is Voya-Nui is no place to be at night. All kinds of horrible creatures stalk these jungles, and we don’t stand a chance if your actions are any indicator. Am I clear?” A resounding “Yes, commander” sounded, about a third was reluctantly. The recruits began looking around cautiously, expecting a Muaka to jump out any moment. They were suddenly much more attentive, a fact that Kira loved on all of her past training missions. Of course she had worse, but she knew how to deal with this ‘Makuta Fodder’ because of it. She signaled again towards the volcano, and the trainees slowly advanced, looking all over. They almost jumped out of their masks when Kira’s radio sounded. “Ruku, do not go near the volcano, I repeat, do not go near that volcano, over!” “Copy that, Gukko Bird, may I ask an explanation, over?” “We just got intel that there is a highly dangerous Makuta moving in. I know you are ready for it, but your new rookies aren’t, over.” “Copy that, Gukko Bird. We’re heading home. We’ll have to complete another day, over.” “Over and out.” The rookies seemed almost glad to get out of the dark jungle, but Kira felt unfulfilled. She had started a mission, and couldn’t finish it. It was the first time in her long career. She suddenly made a quick decision that no one liked. “Alright, team, we are going after that Makuta.” As expected, most of them groaned. This would mean that they would need to stay there, probably after dark, just because of their commander. Of course, out of respect, only one voiced this concern. “But, commander, I thought Base just ordered us to get out of here.” “I cannot accept that. We are going after that Makuta, because I have never left a mission unfinished. I cannot accept to let even one spoil my record.” No one pointed out that she wouldn’t be finishing the training mission she was assigned to. They just unwillingly accepted the decision, just because they wouldn’t get out of it anyways. “Let’s move out!”
-----------------------------The force was running through the forest, quickly but silently, towards the huge, glowing volcano. They could barely hear the crash of trees in the distance as the Makuta made his way to the same destination. Suddenly, Kira’s radio sounded again. She held up her hand to stop the recruits, who suddenly were acting like a well-trained unit. “This is Ruku, over.” “Oh, Commander, I’m so glad I caught you before you left. You see, you’re the only one in the area that would be able to stop the Makuta in time.” “I was hoping you’d say that, because I’m already on my way, over.” “What? I specifically told you not to go, even though I kind of guessed you would do this. I should probably give you the details. The Makuta’s name is Tiberis. His goal is the Spear of Fusion, which was presumed to be left there by Vezon. I’m fairly sure it isn’t true, but he must think it is.” “Go on.” “Anyways, you’ll have some help for this mission, if your rookies aren’t prepared for it. The chamber is still guarded by Protodax and Umbra, but I hear he has a way to defeat Umbra. You need to get in there and prevent that from happening, over.” “Well, we’re only about three kio from the entrance to the 777 stairs, but the Makuta is almost there, about half a kio. I’m not sure if we’ll get there on time.” “Relax, soldier. The Protodax will keep him busy until you can get there. Over and out.” Kira took a deep breath and looked at her untrained recruits. On their first day, they were already going up against a Makuta. This won’t turn out well, she thought. She signaled onwards, and marched off into the forest.
--------------------------------------When the troop had finally reached the entrance to the 777 stairs, they knew they were too late. The carnage from the Protodax was horrible, but there was still plenty to fight. Kira remembered from training that Protodax split when hit by any weapon or power, similar to their microscopic counterparts. Somehow, the Makuta had managed to kill enough to get past, but still left enough for the pursuers that they wouldn’t get in easily. As they watched, hundreds more fell from bindings made from shadow. There was no way they could survive. Despite the odds, Verius gave a huge battle yell as he charged in. Taking courage from his bravery, the others joined him. Maybe it was courage, or they had slept through the class on Protodax. Kira was willing to bet on the latter. She joined in the battle, and soon, the whole troop was surrounded by uncountable numbers. Every time one soldier would shoot one or slice it, it quickly cloned into another one, using the energy of the attack. Kira knew she wouldn’t win, but they had to try. Slowly, one Protodax broke through the crowd with a Zamor launcher on its tail. It was obviously the leader. Kira had a crazy idea that wouldn’t work with all of them, but it might work with just one. “Everyone, grab on!” Kira jumped onto one of the two necks, to the total shock of everyone in the room, her troops included. Everyone was sure that she had a death wish. Slowly, they began to realize her plan. Verius grabbed on to the other neck, and after that, everyone piled on, forcing the leader to the ground. Four soldiers had the Zamor Sphere Launcher, which was shooting wildly, shrinking most of the other Protodax back down to microscopic size. Each arm had about six soldiers on it, preventing the Protodax from escaping. There was no chance for it as Kira and Verius slowly squeezed the necks. The other Protodax cried out, but slowly backed away from the fierce warriors. Suddenly, Kira made an almost imperceptible gesture to her soldiers, and they suddenly jumped up and ran down the 777 steps, leaving all the Protodax to wonder what happened. Just about two hundred steps later, the group entered into a wide cavern surrounded with red lightstone. Above the door was the words ‘Chamber of Death’ in Matoran. The troops looked nervous as they glanced up at it. An unseen voice suddenly called out: “For you to pass, one must be sacrificed.” The doors quickly closed down, sealing them in with only the light of the lightstone. Some of the soldiers ran back and pounded on the door, or even shot at it with Cordak pistols. It didn’t budge at all. The voice called out again. “Choose wisely, for there is no way for you to pass.” Verius stepped forward. “I will.” Before Kira could react, he suddenly vaporized, leaving a small pile of green and tan dust. Only the brave Agori’s helmet remained. The doors opened, but no one was enthusiastic to go. Kira fell to her knees, moving her hand through the dust. The other soldiers bowed their heads in sorrow. “Verius, you were one of the best soldiers I have ever had. You were even braver than I was, cleverer, and more honorable. You didn’t deserve to die this way, but your sacrifice will not be in vain.” Suddenly, someone pointed out, “If you needed to sacrifice someone to enter this room, then is the Makuta dead? Is our mission over?” Kira looked up with realization. She almost forgot Verius for a moment. “Are we done then? Was it that easy? I’m not even sure what to think. Maybe, we should move on anyways, just to check.” “Haven’t you heard of what lies beyond this room? It only gets worse! We should go now, while we still have our lives!” “I’m sure Verius would have charged on happily. Let’s do it for him.” Kira slowly got up, and walked towards the exit. She didn’t wait to see if anyone else was following. When she didn’t hear any more steps, she turned around, and gasped in shock. The rest of her troop was gazing at the pile of dust, which was rising up in a huge swirl. The colors matched together to form tan arms and green armor, and the helmet moved to its rightful place. The dust puffed outwards for a moment, and there stood Verius! He took a deep breath, coughed a few times, and then looked around curiously. Cautiously, he said, “Am I dead?” The mysterious voice answered back, “With your willingness to sacrifice yourself to your friends, and their devotion to you, you have shown me that you are worthy to possess what lies ahead. You may pass.” And with that, the troop moved steadily onwards, shaking hands with Verius and laughing all the way down the next few hundred steps.
-----------------------------------All of the laughter suddenly died when they came to the next room. After all, the ‘Zone of Nightmares’ didn’t sound very cheerful at all. Even worse was the huge Makuta standing in the middle of the room, proudly clutching the Spear of Fusion, and in the other hand, the Mask of Life. Kira froze. There was no way she had failed. She was right behind the Makuta the entire time. How could he have gotten all the way there and back so quickly? It also proved that he also came back to life like Verius, except he had no choice in who to sacrifice. The rest of the troop looked as shocked as she felt. The Makuta laughed in their faces, rejoicing in their failure. He flung them aside with the Spear of Fusion, and they crashed against a wall. The Makuta laughed even harder, and suddenly, Kira couldn’t take it anymore. Verius tried to hold her back, but she jumped up at the Makuta’s face, determined to slap that smile off his face. She shook him until he fell over, then she tried to pull out her pistol, but realized it wasn’t there. She had never lost her equipment before! The leader of R.A.M.A. would be furious at how she lost her only gun that cost a fortune to make!She was so furious, that she didn’t even hear Verius yelling. For the moment, all of her problems were the Makuta’s fault as he continued laughing on the floor and shaking the Mask of Life in her face. She brushed it aside, and was horrified that it shattered all over the floor. The Makuta still didn’t stop laughing at her, even though he had lost the mask. Then, the Spear of Fusion came up in her face. Before she could even tell herself to stop, she grabbed the spear and broke it on her knee, throwing it aside. She was almost not surprise it shattered as well.The Makuta stood up, and Kira fell on to the floor. In a daze, she thought she heard Verius yelling “I’m a protrusion!” She looked up and shook her head, finally realizing he was yelling “It’s all an illusion! It’s the…” He suddenly cut off as the Makuta laughed even harder in her face. She tried to find Verius, but she just saw him running out the door. Now her own team was deserting her! That was the final straw. She just sat down, huddled in the corner, sure she would lose her mind with all of her worst nightmares surrounding her.Nightmares. That’s it! Verius yelled it was all an illusion! That was the power of the chamber! It made you experience your worst fears. Verius must have figured it out, and when she realized that, suddenly, everything went quiet. She looked up into Verius’ green helmet as he offered a hand to help her up. There was no more Makuta, no more shattered spear, and all of her team was still there. She took the hand and stood up, trying to hide her face with embarrassment.“It’s okay. We all had the same thing. I’m not sure what happened to you, but it seemed a lot worse. It’s all over now.”She tried to choke out the words. “I…I’m sorry you had to see your ‘fearless leader’ like that. It all seemed so real, but what was the worst part of it all, was losing you. I know I’ll always have my team beside me, no matter what happens.”The voice came back. “You have learned the values of Teamwork and Dependence. I hope you will use them through the next few chambers, because you are going to need it. You may pass on.”Kira suddenly noticed the door had been wide open the whole time. “Come on team, let’s go, because whatever we face next, I know we can handle it, together.”
----------------------------Luckily, the next chamber presented no challenge at all. It was a simple river of molten protodermis with a collapsed bridge almost sunken into it. This was one of the basic training exercises at boot camp! Teamwork made a huge part of the effort, but it worked smoothly every time after the first ten or so. Needless to say, some Matoran ended up in the hospital with severe burns for a while, but in the end, they survived. The troop quickly formed the basic line with one of their strongest, and one with a good balance of lightness and strength forming the front. Unfortunately, neither was Kira. She wasn’t exactly in her boot camp days anymore. The first few were thrown over the molten protodermis and rolled neatly to a stop at the base of the bridge on the opposite side. Then, they got ready to catch the next few.After a while, almost all of them were over, but there were sounds of clanking metal from the cavern beyond, and they knew they had to hurry to catch the Makuta before he did some real damage. All of them except the last two were thrown over, and then the strongest threw the other over, and then got his cable ready. The cable would only really last one use, so it was a last moment plan, but it worked perfectly. The strongest member of the team quickly shot the cable onto the other tower, and the rest of the team anchored it in or got ready to catch him. He swung over without incident, and the team ran into the next cavern, idly noticing it was the ‘Cavern of Life’ as opposed to the ‘Cavern of Death,’ which was a great relief.Unfortunately, the being waiting inside wasn’t very lively. It could only be Umbra, and he was fighting a losing battle with a horde of Shadow Leeches. The Makuta had already left him beaten, and continued to the next room. Kira and Verius charged in to the rescue, and the rest of the team followed. They used special settings on their guns and swords adapted for shadow beings, and cut away the Shadow Leeches. They were barely in time, and Umbra was barely holding on to life. His heartlight was slowly, almost imperceptibly flashing a dark grey, and he was having trouble keeping his eyes open. The brave guardian of the Mask of Life was at death’s door.Umbra tried to pick up his laser lance, but he was too weak, and Verius slowly put the reaching hand on Umbra’s chest. They knew they should go on to fight the Makuta, but they needed Umbra, and they couldn’t leave the poor guardian like this.Umbra quietly tried to speak. “Go, you have proven yourselves worthy to pass. You must stop those who are not. You are the new guardians.” Vaguely, Kira recognized his deep voice as the one in the chambers, even in his weakened state.“No, we need you. We’re just a bunch of Matoran. We can’t take on a Makuta by ourselves.”“Not by yourselves. You have each other, and you all can work together to defeat him. I cannot. You must go now, before he escapes! Go!” With those words, Umbra fell to the cave floor, his heartlight barely recognizable. Kira mourned his loss almost as much as Verius’. Then she quickly looked up and gave the signal to move onwards. Everyone looked at her like she was crazy, but reluctantly went. Many of them took mournful looks at Umbra.Someone at the back of the line spoke up. “Are you sure we can kill the Makuta by ourselves? We’re just a bunch of Matoran. We’ve never accomplished anything. We’re all going to die!”Kira snapped back, “No, we’re not going to die. Didn’t you hear Umbra? He believes in us, probably the greatest warrior of all time, and he knows we can conquer what he can’t anymore. We can do it. Haven’t you been paying attention to the teamwork we’ve done just to get here? You didn’t question my decision to come here, even if it meant disobeying orders and probably staying out after dark. When I jumped on the Protodax, even though you all thought I was crazy, we worked together to bring it down and get past. We can all hear each other’s thoughts and respond as one. We know how each other feel. We aren’t just a bunch of Matoran; we’re a professional group of soldiers working to defend Mata-Nui’s life! We will defend that life as hard as our own, and right now, this may just be the way to defend it! We can defeat the Makuta without anyone’s help, even without Umbra, because we are all we need: A team loyal to each other. So let’s go, team! Move out!”Kira’s little speech emboldened everyone, until they saw the Makuta. He was every bit as big as he was in Kira’s nightmare. His gleaming dark grey armor reflected the light of the molten protodermis like a slave of Karzahni. He was tearing apart the room, searching for the Spear, and for now, he was distracted. He didn’t even expect anyone to follow him, especially a group of Matoran. Now was their chance, and everyone knew it. Before the Makuta even saw them, the group had brought him to the ground.“What is this madness,” he yelled. “I am Makuta Tiberis, and I demand that you release me, puny, insignificant Matoran!”“We’re not puny, or insignificant,” responded Verius. “We are R.A.M.A., and you are under arrest for crimes against Mata Nui! Would you like to surrender quietly, or by force?”Makuta Tiberis yelled out and stood up, throwing Matoran everywhere. “You cannot detain me! I will crush you and your insolent band of Fire Flyers!”Kira was thrown over the molten protodermis pit, and barely managed to grab the edge before she plunged in. Now she was rethinking her speech, and wondering if Umbra would come anytime. She looked to Verius, who was stuck high up on the wall, slowly coming down. Makuta Tiberis charged straight towards him and unleashed a shadow hand, picking up Verius and throwing him across the molten protodermis pit, where he collapsed on a small shelf just over the boiling molten protodermis. Somehow, the Makuta detected that Kira was the leader, and moved straight towards her next. She tried to swing her body up and over the edge, but Makuta Tiberis kicked her back over the side and she barely had time to grab a hold again.The Makuta’s foot came down over her hands, and Kira cried out in pain. No one was close enough to help her, and she couldn’t hold on with the pain much longer. The few matoran that were still conscious could only watch as her grip slipped, and she fell into the molten protodermis.The protodermis was searing hot. Kira felt burned all over, and knew she couldn’t take much longer. Then, the ground rose towards her and broke out of the surface of the molten protodermis with a deafening roar. Kira was flung over to Verius, where he safely caught her and tried not to burn himself on her white-hot armor. Out of vision that was unclear from the pain, Kira thought she saw a dragon that had risen out of the molten protodermis. Its armor was still as hot as Kira’s, but it was ready for a fight. Makuta Tiberius was just as shocked as Kira. He tried to get out of the way as the dragon smashed a rock to dust where his head used to be.“Is that the…Kardas Dragon?” Verius finally whispered.His question was answered when a huge beam of energy hit the Makuta, sending him tumbling backwards and shaking the cavern.“Only the Kardas Dragon could do that! What’s it still doing here? Vezon is long gone!” Verius remarked.“It still needs to defend the cavern, even if Vezon and the Mask of Life are gone. There must be something to guard, like the Spear of Fusion! That’s what the Makuta is after, but where is it?” Kira was gaining her strength back, and began frantically looking around the cavern as much as she could from the tiny ledge.Across the lake, the Kardas Dragon and the Makuta were at a stalemate. They had each other’s claws gripped, but the Makuta was using his shadow hand to hold the dragon’s head away. The Kardas Dragon was firing off energy bolts at the ceiling occasionally to prevent it from exploding. If it stores up too much energy, it would explode and die, and that wouldn’t help the Matoran at all.Then again, it already wasn’t helping. The repetitive blasts were shaking the cavern and the tiny shelf that held Verius and Kira was slowly crumbling. The molten protodermis was slowly rising as it was fed this new substance. They only had one way out. Kira still had an extra cable, but the other Matoran wouldn’t be there to anchor them, and they had twice as many people as in the molten protodermis river exercise. It was their only chance between life and plunging back into the protodermis, an experience Kira didn’t want to repeat. She quickly fired the harpoon from her gun and locked the cable to her waist. Verius did the same, and it seemed like they were uncomfortably close, but in the peril, they hardly noticed. The cable reeled in a bit to straighten out the slack, and then the two jumped, passing a single bio from the surface of the protodermis. The cable broke about three quarters of the way to the other side, and momentum sent the two, still hooked together, crashing into Makuta Tiberis. The Kardas Dragon quickly gained the upper hand as it held down the angry Makuta and repeatedly blasted energy at his chest. The Makuta grunted, and finally decided to throw the dragon off of him. He jumped to his feet and smashed the dragon back into the lava, and the Kardas Dragon didn’t rise again.He suddenly turned his attention to the two soldiers that almost cost him the battle. He charged after them now that they were nearly defenseless. His crushing footsteps followed right behind. Kira peeked over to one of her recovering soldiers, who signaled he was okay. The others were also slowly rising and starting to formulate a plan under the radar of the charging Makuta.Meanwhile, Verius and Kira were just struggling to survive. Occasionally, Verius would veer back and stab Makuta Tiberis in the foot and gain them a few seconds while the Makuta quickly lost his temper. After a few minutes of this same tactic, the Makuta lost his mind and suddenly tried his hardest to kill them.“Die puny Matoran! Why won’t you be crushed?! I will destroy you eventually!” He bellowed, repeating it over and over with some meaningless words as well. In his rage, the Matoran knew he wouldn’t stop until both Commander Kira and Verius were dead, or he was. Luckily, they could help with the last one.Even thought the stabbing technique was effective, Verius decided now was the time to just run. Any delay, and he would surely be crushed. They were just lucky that the Makuta was mad enough to not use his brain and try his shadow hand or shadow bolts.Slowly, a plan was coming together in everyone’s minds. If the cable that they use to swing across the molten protodermis wasn’t strong enough for two, a fully armored Makuta wouldn’t stand a chance. Kira knew that Verius would be thinking the same thing. He already had his spare cable out, preparing to swing across to the other side of the protodermis. Kira understood that if she got on, the cable wouldn’t last long enough for the plan to work, so she had to get the Makuta distracted long enough for him to get across then hide and let the Makuta see him.Mata Nui, I have to be crazy, thought Kira as Verius ran off to the side. The Makuta stood for a moment, debating who to go after, when Kira shot him in the face with her Cordak Pistol.“Come and get me, you overgrown Brakas!” shouted Kira as the Makuta turned his full fury on her. She had to plan quickly where to hide so that Verius and his dangling cord were in plain sight. There was a ledge a few bio to the left of the cable, and she could be hidden if she could just get there. Verius was already across, waiting for her signal. She turned straight towards the ledge, pushing with all of her strength to finish those last dozen bio. With the Makuta straight on her heels and with all his might focused on her, they almost finished it as Kira jumped down to the ledge. Makuta Tiberis barely stopped in time on the edge, trying to regain his balance.Then, he fell right onto the ledge, and it shattered, throwing rock, Makuta, and Kira everywhere. Makuta Tiberis managed to grab onto the edge of the cliff before he fell, but Kira had been thrown out too far. Her only hope was the cable dangling lazily over the protodermis. It was already loose from Verius’ stunt, but now it was dangerously close to falling. Any lifeline would be preferred from falling into the molten protodermis again, and this time, there would be no last minute save. The cable touched her finger tips, but she still fell, her foot getting tangled in the strong cable at the last second. The harpoon was still slipping from the ceiling, and Kira had to act fast. Her momentum had only gotten the cable swinging a little bit, so she needed to pendulum her body just over the protodermis with the cable slowly going lower.Suddenly, a shadow blast shot past her arm. Great, now she had Makuta Tiberis to deal with, who had climbed up the cliff and was now attacking. The next blast hit her foot, swinging her wildly and bringing the harpoon even further out of the cliff. Her mind was full of fear again, she knew she wouldn’t live. The odds were hopeless, and she was doomed to fail from the beginning. What was she thinking, taking on a Makuta with a bunch of rookies?No, they weren’t rookies, they were good strong soldiers who knew how to obey their commander even better than any troop she had trained before. As soon as she thought that, she faintly heard someone yelling, and saw a flash of green and tan before going back over the lava. It was Verius who was reaching out to grab her hands, but she couldn’t move. The effects of the shadow blast were still very strong, and she could barely see Verius anyways. The harpoon was slipping, and yet there was nothing Kira could do about it. Finally, Verius grabbed Kira and almost tumbled off the edge himself. Kira stood in a daze against the wall while Verius covered her. He opened his backpack into a small Spinner turret and launched it as a desperate measure against the Makuta. Tiberis simply slapped it aside with his hand, but as he did that, the spinner’s effect activated.A lime-green net slowly closed over the Makuta as he tried to shake it off. He blasted shadow, but the net still grew, sapping his powers to feed its growth. The mighty Makuta dropped to the ground in weakness, collapsing on the side of the cliff. The rest of the troop cautiously looked up from behind rocks to see what had happened.Makuta Tiberis lay trapped completely inside the net. Coming from the top, the spinner still latched onto his hand, out of power. The Matoran cheered, but Kira in her shadow-infected state could feel the power growing. She tried to call out “stop, it isn’t over!” but no one heard her over the cheers.The chamber grew silent as the Makuta yelled out and the net began snapping. There was only one thing to do at a time like this. Soldiers of R.A.M.A. were instructed to only capture except under dire circumstances, and this certainly qualified. The remaining troops marched together and shoved the Makuta into the molten protodermis, the heat destroying his armor and shadow essence in a matter of minutes. He burst from the surface only one, just to release a single, small creature, similar to a Kraata, but made of pure shadow. The last remaining piece of his shadow essence. A Light Warrior, specially equipped to handle these, quickly grabbed it in a special jar. They had won.“Well done, Matoran.” Umbra stood in the doorway, much stronger than when they left him. He still leaned heavily on his Laser Lance, but he was alive. “I don’t even feel the need to battle you for entrance to this chamber. I feel as if you have suffered enough.” He quickly shot over the lake, grabbed Kira and Verius, who had been nearly forgotten on the other side without any means to get back, and returned them to their troop.“That means a lot to us, considering I don’t think that we’ll have the strength to fight anyways,” said an exhausted Kira.“Go, you have completed your mission. There’s another way out that will put you in the Green Strip without going through the other rooms. There, you will find your ship.” Umbra turned around and silently walked away, standing sentinel in the room he was fated to protect. The Matoran left without another word as well.To let off tension, Commander Kira always believed in some good laughs after a hard battle. Today’s jokes were centered on how crazy it was that Makuta Tiberis went after a spear that probably didn’t even stay in the cavern, and he lost so much in the process.“So, what’s our next mission, protect the legendary Rahi-Nui from assassination?”“Taming the Kanohi Dragon?”“Waking Mata Nui?”Kira smiled at all the crazy suggestions about things that may never happen, and most certainly would be done by the Toa. Their mission was done, but they were ready for the next one.Finally, Kira couldn’t resist. “You know, from my vantage point, I saw the Spear of Fusion on the Kardas Dragon’s back. Maybe there was truth to this myth.” She had to try really hard to avoid laughing at their faces as they all ran into the airship to go home.