Note: Some of the following answers are best saved until you have read 43.
Just wanted to post this to let you know that I'm reading this epic, and I like what I've read so far. The evolution that Hujo has gone through culminates in this epic; he was once just a clueless Matoran, like in the MoMN RPG, then grew powerful but still insecure, like we saw in EB. In the Perfect Cage we finally see Hujo confident in himself, almost in the same rank as the Toa, having already mastered his suit. This is one of the things that I've liked the most so far. The other is the submagmatic reveal, that came as a real surprise.
Thanks. Hope you continue to like Hujo's journey as we get closer to series finale.
One thing I'm confused about, however, is Ito. I think we saw him earlier (in this epic?) firing a gun-like device to his head. Will it get revealed in TPC what that was? I'm not sure if that mystery has been resovled yet.
Not in this story, no. Also, pretty sure that was Endless Blue. (I know it happened once in that epic, I don't recall it here offhand).
Chapters 41 & 42:
So the whole point of this was to show Nijire "Hey, you can control this piece of rock?". Odd.
Lol, well, that's a big first step. Also, they did need to narrow down for sure who was to control it. They were not certain it was Nijire.
Note: the form of the tool is less important than what it represents in a larger highly mystical and highly important enigma that the posted story has only begun to delve into at this point. Well, it's been hinted at repeatedly and in tons of ways but this is the first time the reader is brought to direct conscious awareness of it. The choice of a lightstone was only made recently, actually. There was always going to be something like this. I felt a lightstone would feel more humble and thus jarring, to signal that this is not a normal tool.
Am I correct in thinking that Vaarukan's goal in this submagmatic was Onua's theory trap, and the Kuambu's had to do with Nijire?
Essentially yes. Vaurukan's goal has to do with Onua, though you have only so far seen hints of it. And getting Onua trapped momentarily there is a step in that.
(I suppose the "Brotherhood protection deal: no killing" bit was a part of it as well. After all, the Kuambu would like to avoid getting killed, and their pawns getting killed as well. And it's sort of obvious why the Unknown want this.)
The Kuambu actually did not see that coming. That was Nijire's idea. But now that it's happened they don't mind it. As for whether the Unknown did, Caroha might have since she sees much of the future, but did little if anything really to draw it out or cause it per se.
For the most part, this makes perfect sense (lol pun), although I doubt Nijire is a perfectionist - she seems willing to settle for what seems like the best plan when there isn't a perfect one. Could just be me though.
Right, I don't see her as a perfectionist. She's practical -- whatever gets the job done. As you'd have to be to catch ice fish. Onua is the perfectionist (in my interpretation anyways).
And Kopaka can untie and tie knots one-handed?
It's been a while since I actually proofread that part, but I thought I wrote that the left hand was more under control now, so he was doing that two-handed. Although the Kuambu use loop-knots that you could untie one-handed (that might be what it said, sorry for not having the right answer ready offhand ), but not tie.
The main thing he's not trusting to his left hand is holding up his entire weight, since if it does let go it's all over. But once his other limbs (like hooking elbows over a rope) are secure he can use two hands for the knots.
I'm sort of lost in the detailed description of all of the triangles, and it feels so trivial. This chapter is draggy as a result, until we get to Vaarukan, frozen. Into the energy bands we go...or is that a trap? Suspense is good, I suppose - that's the thin thread that's holding this together. Feels like the mystery is over, and this is but an extended epilogue.
Yeah, I kinda worried about the Kopaka section. On the other hand, I don't think it would make sense to just say "he made it somehow" -- the reader has to understand how it's possible.
But, the mystery is definitely not over. After a major reveal like this you might think that and it's somewhat intentional for 42; I wanted to give readers some time to absorb and try to think about it before I focused attention on why it's still a major mystery. 43's opening draws attention to the larger scope and context of this, which is a mystery so mysterious it can't even be stated what the real question is, only that Onua will have to be the one to solve it.
I was also aware it might be a problem if I didn't end the story right here. But I set it up this way for several reasons. First, a very intentional choice not to make this reveal during a story that called Nijire the main protagonist, lest that make it too obvious something might be strange about her. Second, since that was the case I had to use a different protagonist with their own central mystery and that has not yet been revealed, though Onua has gotten much of the side details. Onua knows much about his relationship to the antagonist but not the really big thing, and knows much about his past but has missed something crucial, plus he now knows he's a perfectionist but not what to do about it (this'll be clearer later on; he tries something that works once but worries it won't work again).
I also wanted to try a different kind of personal struggle path with Onua, where he makes two major parts of figuring out his issues, rather than squeezing it all at the end as I usually do. I felt this would be a reasonable way to avoid seeming like Onua's characterization would be constantly delayed as often seemed to be the case for Bhukasa for example. Also I wanted to explore having several chapters from his POV after learning something that important about himself rather than just delay "the new Onua" for some future story, albeit to be punctuated with a second understanding at the end (wait and see).
Another reason is that I felt it wouldn't work to just reveal Nijire has this power but not give her a chance in-story with her POV to explore it, or learn what exactly it is. If the secret had been smaller than it is I might have done that, but it was something I wanted to put in the end of this story. And again make it about Onua, because now he's going to have to manage people better than ever before to solve it. I felt he was the perfect main protag for this role because his issues were about other people to a large degree.
But, that's a risky move, so we'll see how well yall think the end turns out.
Note: Many of the questions in the next two posts I cannot safely answer. If any confusion on it remains after the epilogue I will be able to clarify much of it, but for now I'd rather just let yall continue to get hints to it strictly from the story itself. I can answer a few things, though.
Chapter 41: This was a beautiful chapter, bonesiii. There are two reasons.First, I had somewhat forgotten how amazing you are at character development. Not really forgotten, but more like gotten used to. Onua's grand introspection in this chapter was a total renewal of this talent in my eyes. (And, of course! He's a perfectionist.) You brought so many of his experiences from this episode into focus, and merged them into a pinpoint conclusion that, in the way it was presented, felt so true and undeniable to the reader. Not to mention immensely satisfying because we obviously are rooting for him.
A safe guess is the Kuambu
There are no safe guesses on this subject.
Yet, as they couldn't know which were which, they needed to contrive the environment and traps... eventually led to evidence of who had what Matoran element... Similar to Takua unconsciously manipulating his armour colours.
Yes, that is a good comparison.
But how to actually witness that, and also know where that individual is so they could be captured and removed (or even Taken by Vaurukan, why not)? Cameras. But even a controlled environment like a submagmatic is too big (forests, countless piles and hills of junk, and steam from the lava obscuring areas). This is a problem that solves itself because the prisoners will naturally seek out the exit route.So place a camera at that exit, and make the exit itself a barrier that can only be traversed by the same methods that are used to identify the elemental Matoran!
Exactamundo. And this is why I kept saying I don't see this as (per se) inherently a prison-break story, because the Kuambu always hoped someone would escape. The whole appearance of a prison was entirely deception to draw this special Matoran out of "hiding" (though she didn't consciously know she could do this so it was even trickier).
Also, just so it's crystal clear (lol sorry), the chimes were part of a sensor system that could detect the general area of use of crystal element, but not down to the exact Matoran (and less accurately in the caves). Although I have intentionally left it ambiguous what actually generates the sound, and the eerie nature of it is meant as a clue that there's something much more mystical than you might think at face value about what is being detected. So I don't want to give the impression that it's "just some tech system." There's much more to it I can only vaguely hint at for now.
For me, this only leaves the question of whether Nijire is actually destined to be a Toa. We don't know that from this scene, do we?
One of the rules of being one of these special Matoran is that they are never destined to be Toa. So you do know that but it's subtle. This is largely why Matoro was removed (but not until it could be clear something was odd about him being removed, as part of subconsciously hinting to Nijire or whoever it would be that she/they was/were different).
Also, I think the Kuambu or Vaarukan knew what Nijire's element was.
I can't comment yet on what exactly she is, but the Kuambu did strongly suspect, due to one clue I can say and others I can't. The clue I can say is that they observed that she liked to ice-fish in the region where those crystals in Ko-Wahi were growing with no other seeming cause (this has been the main hint I've been showing since early story). But no, they did not know for sure, which was why they incorporated parts of the place to test many candidates. And you're right that even if they did they would still do just about the same things to draw it out.
How could Nijire control crystal and yet the Kuambu/Vaurukan not be able to sense this, you ask? No comment.
Edit: Re: TN's edit. Well, the masks did fall into the lake, and the Kal did not actually pick them up. I shouldn't really say more than that yet though. But things are not what they seem.