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When Takanuva and Darkness had made a break for the Coliseum, the Toa of Light expected that they would be fighting his way tooth and nail all the way to where ever the Hall of Masks would be. The amount of Toa that had spilled out of the place had suggested that the center of the city was teeming with more warriors who were armed to the teeth and ready to destroy the opposing rebellion. What he found though was quite the opposite. Instead of opponents and roadblocks, they found empty halls, silence, practically almost no sign of the massive confrontation that was taking place just one floor below. As they wandered the halls it seemed as if the Toa and Dark Hunter were kio away from the battle, and wandering through an empty building on some far edge of a Metru. This floor had not brought them face to face with Vahki, any of Tuyet’s Toa army, or even a single Matoran. If the two of them were not present, there would have been no sign of the occurring conflict. Takanuva forced himself to keep focus on the mission, but part of his mind could not ignore the creeping sensation that the empty halls were giving him. They came to the end of a hallway, where an elevator door stood nestled into the wall. The bell within rang and the door opened seemingly at their approach. The empty elevator box stood open, inviting them in. The two unlikely partners looked at each other. Darkness himself looked particularly unnerved. “A trap?” the Toa of Light asked. The Dark Hunter shook his head. “It may be a way for you, but not for me,” said Darkness. “I sense ill will with this door. Take it if you may, but I shall find another path to this Hall we seek.” The Dark Hunter slid away into the shadows before Takanuva could even say his name in protest. The Toa of Light breathed hard out of his nose. Typical Dark Hunter, he thought, not willing to risk his own neck. Takanuva was on his own he knew as he took a step toward the elevator. To the credit of Darkness though, Takanuva thought as he stepped inside, something did seem off about the structure; the way it just stood there, open and silently waiting for him. Beyond the door, the light inside shined down on the lines of gold that ran through green walls. The shadows did not flicker. No sounds of elevator music came from inside. Nothing seemed wrong with the elevator box, but at the same time, something Takanuva could not put his finger on definitely seemed off. It did not matter if it seemed off. The Toa of Light needed to get up to the Hall of Masks. Whatever way took him there, he would have to take it. A single bell from within dinged, and the door closed. However, the box did not move. Takanuva looked around at the — suddenly maroonish-purple— walls in annoyance. Shouldn’t the elevator be taking him somewhere? Maybe Darkness was right and another way was a better option. The color change of the interior was an unsettling surprise, but he was not going to let that deter him. This elevator would take him to the Hall of Masks. A light on the wall with the number four began to glow. Takanuva pressed it, and the elevator began to take him upwards. He smiled with satisfaction, his arrival to the fourth floor soon to come. The elevator bell gave a resounding ding! as the doors opened. However, the floor the Toa had arrived at looked no different from the one he had just left. Frowning, he took a step towards exiting the elevator. The Toa of Light paused mid-step. Something screamed in the back of his mind not to exit the elevator. Nothing around him looked wrong. Takanuva could not see any traps, but also something did not feel right about getting off at this floor. This was raw emotion from deep in the core of his mind, screaming, begging him not to get off the elevator. There was a certain sense about the fabric of the alternate universe of Tuyet’s empire, a feel about the very air, that was very different from his own home. This hallway in front of him had none of that same feel. The more Takanuva pondered it the more he felt as if he should not get off the elevator. What do I do then? The question echoed in his mind. As if in response to his thoughts, another button on the wall panel began to glow. Floor two. Takanuva pushed it, and the doors closed again. The Toa of Light felt the elevator lurch and begin to descend. He was a little more worried than when he had originally stepped onto the elevator. The same thing happened at floor two. Nothing was out there, but the Toa of Light felt as if it were simply not safe to get out of the elevator. The light for the sixth floor glowed to life, and he hit it. The elevator took Takanuva to several more empty floors, where his intuition told him not to get off. After the sixth floor was reached, the light for the second floor lit up. This was followed by the tenth floor lighting up, and then the fifth floor. Takanuva pressed each of these, hoping it was a secret code to access the Hall of Masks, but after the handful, he suspected there was something else at play. Takanuva paused before pressing the lit button for the fifth floor. Looking around he was equally annoyed as he was anxious. “Whoever or whatever you are behind all of this, I have a mission,” he told the elevator, concerned as he voiced his thoughts. “I do not have the time to play your game.” He hit the button for the fifth floor, and the elevator shuddered as it began to move. The lights flashed once or twice. The colors of the elevator walls changed again, flashing to a blue and then back to the maroonish- purple shade that they were. Something else rumbled through the elevator as well, the phantom of an emotion which left Takanuva from saying anything more. He expected the fifth floor to be empty, just as all of the others were. But the door opened to the sight of a smiling Ga-Matoran, who walked into the elevator and turned to stand next to the Toa of Light. Macku! Takanuva thought as he recognized the noble Kanohi Huna on her face. “Hello there,” she said. Takanuva relaxed at the comforting voice of his Ga-Matoran friend. No matter what dimension he came to, Macku had almost always been there, a certain guide to help beings from another dimension. To see her here— regardless of how corrupted this Tuyet-ruled universe was— brought him relief. He was about to respond when he saw her reflection in the elevator door. The silvery protodermic material did twist and contort his own Kanohi, due to the nature of the reflective surface. However, observing Macku’s reflection, Takanuva knew something was off. Her height was no longer that of around Takanuva’s thigh— she seemed to be standing shoulder to shoulder with the Toa. The mask that reflected in the surface of the elevator seemed to be twisted and contorted, yes, but there was more. It seemed to be spiked and wild, the mask bending and appendages coming out in places where Takanuva was sure they couldn’t be, even in a trick reflection. Whatever he was looking at… seemed almost devilish. The reflection of her eyes flashing to a dark glowing red— a deeper crimson than the Makuta’s eyes— made him decide it was best not to answer. The button for floor one lit up. Takanuva hit it with as much haste as he could. He didn’t even care as the elevator lurched and went upward. He just wanted to get moving. The fear and worry that had washed over the Toa earlier was far more than anything he had felt from the Turahk’s staff or Makuta’s fear on his island home of Mata Nui. Those were simulated, artificial doses of fear. But the chilling fear and worry that he encountered from the elevator was incredibly real. And Macku— or whatever it was next to him— brought Takanuva sheer terror. The first floor button brought them to the tenth floor. As the door opened, Takanuva completely ignored the impulses and screams for him to stay on the elevator. He forced those voices down, using the calming power of the Kanohi Avohkii on himself, and stepped clear out of the elevator. “Where are you going?” asked the Macku-that-was-not-Macku. Takanuva ignored her as the doors shut. As the doors closed, he spun. Three elevators faced him— the one he had departed from on the left, another two directly to his right. The floor numbers on top of all three elevators, even the one Takanuva had migrated from, were dark and unchanging. Upon closer inspection, the symbols for the floors were all written in reverse, as if they were being looked at from a mirror. Macku-that-was-not-Macku was simply sitting behind that door on the left, waiting for him. He could not explain it, but Takanuva could feel it in his armor. Some internal force pulled him along as he walked the tenth floor. Hopefully this is the Hall of Masks, and I have simply gotten up here quicker than Darkness. Takanuva walked silently, his lance tight in his hand. The marble of the hallway echoed as his armored feet paced. After a while though, Takanuva began to think there was nobody here. No security, no masks, not even people. The halls were devoid of weaponry, carvings, even artwork. There was a certain feel about the place, a general vibe that was not Tuyet’s empire dimension. It was the same feeling he had experienced in the elevator— a creeping sensation along the back of his neck, a shadow escaping the corner of his eye, a shudder along his armor— but amplified tenfold. A faint red aura hung about the place that made Takanuva think the elevator— or whatever it was— had led him into a totally different reality. As he rounded a corner, he saw a window looking out into the city. Takanuva approached it, looking down into the vast sprawl of Metru Nui cityscapes. The place was incredibly still. No battle or rebellion was outside on the ground. No armies marched throughout the streets. No Matoran, no Rahi, not even the sea beyond seemed to move. The one thing that Takanuva did discern in the city came from the sky. A red cross like shape, which was casting its red, hellish glow, hovered in the sky, unmoving still. It was like looking at a picture of the city. Everything was still and peaceful, but there was something wrong about it. With no people, no movement, no nothing at all but that red, shining cross shape, there was an impression about the place that Takanuva could not describe which felt off. Whatever it was, it struck another bout of fear in Takanuva in this latest experience of terror. It frightened him in a way similar to how a Muaka cat was frightened when a villager would shove a flaming branch into its maw. Whatever hellish place this was, it repulsed Takanuva, made him want to whimper out loud and run away. The stillness of the city and the red of the light felt as if he was experiencing a very poisoned version of his home. Takanuva needed to get back. Even if it wasn’t his home dimension, the alternate Metru Nui with Tuyet was far greater comfort than whatever this place was. He whirled, tripping and stumbling as he strode towards the elevators which he had come from. He came to the elevator lobby and paused, frantically looking at the three elevators. Even though he was away from the window, the red glow bathed faintly over everything. It was burned into the Toa of Light’s corneas. He wanted to take another elevator rather than the one he had come up on. The other elevators would help him avoid the devil, that monster in the guise of Macku. But his intuition— which had not led him into actual harm yet— reminded him of advice he had learned what seemed not so long ago. In the tales of the Toa Metru, when fleeing the city to find a refuge for the Matoran, the then Toa of Air had approached a crossroads within the Great Barrier. Go left, Matau had insisted to his comrades. Going right had met with disaster and challenges that had almost gotten the group killed. But going left… as much as it seemed improbable that had been the safer path. Going left would take him back into the elevator with the monster. But what could the other elevators possibly lead him to? Not wanting to find out, Takanuva pressed the button for the left most elevator. As his finger drew away, he noticed that the symbol for it was backwards, just like the lights above the elevators. The door opened, and the Toa of Light slid in, trying his hardest not to acknowledge the too cheery Matoran standing beside him. Buttons on the elevator lit up, and Takanuva pressed them, curious as to where the elevator was taking him now. After a few floor selections, Takanuva noticed that it was the reverse order that he had originally pressed them in. Hopefully that meant he was heading back from whatever place he was in. Standing beside him, whom he still ignored with all of his might, was the shape and form of Macku, still silently humming. Takanuva could not wait longer for the fifth floor doors to open up. When it did, he knew “Macku” would leave, and he could take the rest of the elevator ride alone. He expected “her” to leave silently. Once the doors to the fifth floor opened, “she” took a step forward. Takanuva could have almost cried from relief as he felt “her” leaving his side. But “she” stopped half way through “her” stride, just as the Toa of Light had done earlier. “She” did not look at him, but at the same time he could feel the neck straining and twisting towards his direction. Takanuva avoided the gaze of the Matoran shaped thing— because that was definitely not Macku— at all costs. “It is really a shame,” Macku’s voice called. However, Takanuva almost jumped toward the back of the elevator box as he heard another voice as well. A contorted, twisted sound—that may have been one voice or several hundred or several thousand— spoke underneath the comforting tone of the Ga-Matoran’s cheery tone. It was nothing like the friendly tone she had spoken to him with, but at the same time it was. There was an accursed underlayer of the voice, one that spoke to Takanuva from not just the Matoran’s mouth but all corners of the elevator. “I really thought you would stay longer,” the thing-in-Macku’s-form said in hundreds of thousands of voices as she left the elevator. The doors closed, and Takanuva slouched against the wall, utterly spooked by the voice. She was gone now, and he was away from whatever she was, but something stuck with him in those nefarious undertones that he could not shake. The light for floor one lit up. Takanuva stared at it for a second, before hitting it. The elevator began to move upwards. He knew where it was taking him. “No!” he yelled in the closed box. His sobs of relief from moments earlier were turning to cries of distraught. He hit the button for floor one again, even though it did not light up. “I am done playing your game. Take me back. To where I came from this time!” The elevator grated to a halt briefly, as if to consider his words. Takanuva glared at the empty air front of him, hoping to stare down whatever was doing this. Then slowly, very slowly, the elevator began to move again. The doors opened at the first floor, and Takanuva barely breathed as he felt a whoosh of breeze fill the elevator box. He could not believe his eyes as he peered out of the doors, seeing the hallways of the Coliseum before him. He examined the walls, everything outside, before stepping out. Yes, this was Tuyet’s dimension. He did not know how he had gotten back here, but somehow he had managed to return from where he had been. Takanuva turned around to look once more at the elevator doors, not having heard them close. To his disbelief, he only saw a blank wall. There was no elevator, or even any indication of one having ever existed. Only a blank wall, its marbled surface grey and unrevealing. A shiver went up his spine. Takanuva turned back to the hall. Probably for the only time in his life, began to run towards the comfort of Darkness. **** A little story based on a paranormal blog that I read on occasion. Thought this could have fit in with the Dark Mirror Universe, taking it a step further.
Rules:1: Keep it anonymous. Use pseudonyms when referring to others.2: No conspiracy theories, whether they be paranormal or not. I believe these fall into the politics section.3: Feel free to argue, but keep it civilized.Now, post away.