Kopaka threw his weapon onto the sand and slumped down a rock. He was tired, all the way down to the core of his being… tired of fighting and running and fighting some more. It seemed like that was all he had done since he and his teammates had arrived on the island of Mata Nui more than a year before. As he looked over the Bara Magna battlefield, and the hulking corpse of Makuta’s massive robot, he wondered if at last it was over.

He had answered Tahu’s call with all of the Toa Nuva, except for Lewa. Side by side with other Toa and the inhabitants of this world, they had battled Rahkshi, Skakdi, and vicious, black-armored warriors as well. Tahu had single-handedly defeated the Rahkshi, and the others had battered the rest of Makuta’s army into submission. The Makuta robot had been struck on the back of the head by an astral body and fallen faster than an avalanche on Mount Ihu. Now, one by one, Matoran and other inhabitants of the robot were emerging from the ruined shell into the sunlight of a new world.

Using his powers to create an ice ramp, Kopaka traveled over the treetops of the new jungle. He wanted some time alone.

Finding a likely spot, miles away from where the other Toa and Glatorian were assembled, he sat down to contemplate his future. The destiny of the Toa Nuva had been achieved, so he always had the option of giving up his Toa power and becoming a Turaga. But he had no real wish to wind up running a village or outpost somewhere.

He could always just retire from adventuring, of course. This was a whole new world for him, with plenty of places to explore and maybe even someplace to settle. It might be nice to do something besides battle for his life all the time. Of course, he had no idea what that “something” might be, but one thing he did know – there was no way he could lay down his weapons until Lewa was found.

The Toa of Air had been missing for days. It was possible he was simply in some other part of the robot and would be emerging. But he might also have been wounded or waylaid. As annoying as Lewa could be sometimes, he was a fellow Toa Nuva and… a friend. Kopaka made a silent vow to find him wherever he might be.

The first step would be to talk to the other Nuva and organize a search. Before he could do that, though, something extremely strange caught his eye. A section of the robot’s surface was simply disappearing. There had been no explosion, no heat, no sign of the metal being cut. One moment it was there, and the next it was gone.

What was even more bizarre was who emerged from the hole. A small army of Skakdi; a strange, golden-skinned creature; and… the Toa Mahri! The heroes did not seem to be hostages or prisoners. In fact, it looked like they were quite happily acting as beasts of burden for the Skakdi.

Lewa will have to wait, I’m afraid, thought Kopaka. I need to get to the bottom of this, for the Mahri’s sake if nothing else.

Fortunately, the new plant life created by Mata Nui provided a lot better cover than a desert ever could have. Kopaka trailed the Skakdi and their mysterious “allies” for miles. When they came to the shores of the ocean, the troop came to a halt. The Skakdi could be seen talking and gesturing to the golden-skinned creature.

The creature nodded once and turned to look at the cliffs beyond the beach. Before Kopaka’s startled eyes, a massive castle took shape atop the highest of the rock formations. The walls were made of stone and the towers bristled with weaponry. All of Metru Nui could probably have fit inside it, with room to spare.

This is extremely not good, thought Kopaka. One Toa Nuva can’t do anything here. Let’s find out what five can do.

Lewa Nuva was in the middle of his own mystery at the moment. Transported to someplace called Bota Magna along with Toa Helryx, Vezon, Toa Tuyet, Miserix, Brutaka, and others, he had found himself in the presence of someone claiming to be an imprisoned Great Being who sought freedom. The members of his party had immediately fallen into debate on whether it was wise to free someone with so much potential power and evidently a tenuous grasp on sanity. Lewa rapidly grew tired of the argument and found his way out of the fortress.

The area in which he now stood was one of the most beautiful he had ever seen, even more stunning than the jungles of Mata Nui. He used his power to soar above the trees, taking in the majestic forest, beautiful rivers, rolling fields, cybernetically enhanced giant reptiles, and –

Lewa circled back for a second look. Yes, that was a lizard, roughly forty feet high by the Toa’s rough estimate. And yes, it did have a laser targeting system in place of one eye, its teeth were polished metal, and its tail was covered in circuitry for its entire length. The Toa of Air watched as the beast pursued a smaller and much faster reptile. The prey looked likely to escape… at least, until something flashed from the giant’s mechanical eye and the ground exploded in front of his quarry. The smaller reptile flew backwards, tumbling end over end, and landed hard on the forest floor. The larger reptile swallowed it whole.

And we thought we had Rahi problems on the island, thought Lewa. They grow them big here.

Swooping down for a closer view, Lewa spotted movement on the forest floor. This time, it wasn’t reptiles, but villagers not too different in size from Matoran. They were marching at a steady pace, seemingly unaware of the proximity of the massive predator. Lewa decided he had better warn them.

Landing some distance away, so as not to startle the natives, he waited for their approach. As soon as they saw him, they spread out as if to surround them. He kept his arms at his sides, not wanting to appear hostile. Now that they were closer, he could see they were quite different from Matoran in some ways. They carried very crude weapons, axes and spears and clubs made from wood and rock. While they did wear armor, it was a strange hybrid of metal and plant life.

One of the villagers, obviously the leader of the patrol, stepped forward and addressed the Toa. But Lewa could not understand anything he said. He tried to use gestures to convey the message that a huge reptile was not far away, but the villagers did not seem to get it, or else just didn’t care. They seemed much more fascinated about him. A few of the braver ones poked and prodded him, as if they had never seen his like before.

Now the leader was making gestures of his own, evidently asking Lewa’s point of origin. The Toa of Air smiled and nodded, trying to show he understood, and pointed in the direction of the fortress. There was an immediate murmuring among the villagers, not at all a happy sound. The next thing Lewa knew, the points of countless spears were at his throat.

Oh, thought the Toa of Air. It’s going to be this kind of day.

Angonce studied his ancient equipment. It told him much about the state of the newly restored Spherus Magna. Mata Nui had gone dormant, at least temporarily; the original Mata Nui robot and its prototype had both been destroyed; the nanotech inhabitants of Mata Nui had somehow survived and were emerging onto Spherus Magna and interacting with the local inhabitants.

The Great Being should have been pleased by all this. After all, it was he and his brothers and sisters who had created Mata Nui and sent the robot on its mission, which culminated in the restoration of the planet. But things had changed a great deal in the last 101,000 years. What might once have been cause for celebration now provoked very different emotions.

They will seek the Great Beings now, he thought. They will want to tell us that all is well. Toa and Glatorian, Matoran and Agori, will join together on this ‘joyous’ mission. But all is not well… and if they go in search of those who brought so much glory and so much misery to this world… I fear they will find nothing but death.

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