“Yep,” Kualus commented, “it’s definitely been through here.”
He dismounted the Thornatus and waited for Onua to climb out of the cockpit. The Toa Nuva’s adaptive armor shifted as he did so, reverting to a form identical to his original armor.
Before them lay the Valley of the Maze—or rather, its ruins. The once intimidating labyrinth was now nothing but a shattered wreck, with twisted walls and scrap metal jutting out at random. A layer of soot covered the rubble, leaving a dark trail running directly to the massive volcano at the heart of the mess.
“Guess the Great Beings didn’t do as good a job fortifying the place as they thought,” Kualus said. “Or they never expected a fiery dragon to come charging in.”
In the confusion around the destruction of the Matoran Universe, a massive Rahi known as the Kanohi Dragon had escaped its prison on the island of Xia and flown off over the plains of Spherus Magna. It was difficult to suppress the panic that followed. The Kanohi Dragon was infamous for the destruction it had caused on Metru-Nui, and for the effort and time it took for the Toa Mangai to eventually defeat it. The thought of battling it while the evacuation was in progress was an unpleasant one.
Luckily, word had arrived—a nomad has spotted the Dragon flying towards the Valley of the Maze, a cryptic location that had once been home to the Great Beings. At its center was the Great Volcano, a massive source of heat that must have drawn the creature’s attention. Kualus and Onua had been dispatched immediately to subdue it once more.
Onua summoned his Kanohi Kakama Nuva and activated its power, reaching out with his mind to share the burst of speed with his companion. The two Toa rocketed through the ruins in a matter of minutes, coming to a halt at the base of the volcano.
“You are sure that your Mask of Rahi Control will not work on it?” Onua asked.
Kualus shook his head. “My team fought this thing before, remember? It’s an old and powerful Rahi—too strong to be controlled. Might have a chance once it’s weakened, but I didn’t try last time.”
“I will draw its attention, then,” the Toa of Earth said. “You attack from another angle with ice blasts. If you see an opportunity where the mask might work, take it.”
His armor changed again, this time sprouting jet boosters at his shoulders and ankles. Grabbing Kualus by the arms, Onua mentally activated the equipment and rose into the air, soon reaching the top of the Great Volcano and depositing the Toa of Ice on its edge.
Kualus used his Sub-Zero Spear to steady himself. The heat is more intense than I expected…where’s the Dragon?
Carefully, he peered over the edge. Pipes and tubes ran down the interior of the Volcano, some sticking out of the walls and forming ledges with what appeared to be maintenance consoles. Stretched across three of these ledges was the Kanohi Dragon, its wings folded in and its eyes closed.
It’s asleep? Hardly looks like an engine of destruction when it’s like this.
Kualus furrowed his brow. In fact…it actually looks peaceful. This volcano has become its nest, hasn’t it? It’s found a place where it can thrive without the annoyance of intrusions. Judging by the state of the Maze, it had to work pretty hard to find it.
Onua floated down and landed next to Kualus. His armor maintained its jets, but it had now morphed into a thicker, larger shell to protect its wearer from the heat. Freeze cannons were mounted on its wrists, and his Kanohi had taken the shape of a bulbous helmet with a transparent visor over his eyes.
“Are you ready?”
Hesitantly, Kualus replied, “This may sound crazy, but…maybe we should just leave it here.”
Onua turned to his fellow Toa. Most companions would probably berate Kualus for his statement, claiming the heat was getting to him and preventing him from thinking clearly. Onua merely waited for him to explain.
“During my time as a Rahaga, I developed a real bond with Rahi—flyers, especially. You can’t imagine the bliss they feel when they find the perfect nest, or the agony when a hunter takes that away from them. It may be more reptile than flyer, but I think this Dragon has found his perfect nest. All the heat he could ever want is right here, perpetually generated by the Great Beings’ technology, and there’s nothing for kio around that he has to compete with.”
Kualus turned to the Dragon. “He’s not hurting anyone by staying here. What real reason do we have for evicting him?”
Onua silently regarded the Rahi and considered Kualus’s proposal. He was right, of course: the only living things they had passed in their journey had been a few Vorox and handful of other creatures he could not identify, none of which had ventured anywhere near the volcano. The Kanohi Dragon had to be captured because it was dangerous…but here, there was no one for it to pose a danger too.
“How do you want to explain this to Tahu?” Onua asked.
Kualus shrugged. “Spherus Magna is a big place. The Dragon was here before, but it’s moved on, and we have no idea where to start looking.”
Onua chuckled. “He won’t be happy, but it’ll probably go over better than saying we just let it go.”
Placing a hand on Kualus’s shoulder, he added, “A wise call, brother. We shall leave this Rahi in peace.”
“Thank you,” Kualus said. “…Can we get out of here now? This heat is awful!”
Edited by Pahrak #0579, May 16 2013 - 11:49 AM.