Lewa’s heart pounded with anticipation as the Toa made their way down the tunnel. But after so much confusion and uncertainty, it felt good to have a plan at last.
Follow tunnel, he thought. Find Makuta. Destroy Makuta. Sounds plainsimple enough…
The tunnel twisted and turned through the earth, travelling deeper and deeper. Tahu’s sword cast enough of a glow to light their way, though deep, ominous shadows still lurked ahead.
Finally Tahu let out a shout as he turned a corner. “Hurry!” he cried. “I think I’ve found it.”
“What?” Lewa skidded around the corner and stopped.
They were in a cavern, broad and long. Thick slashes of lightstone in the walls cast an eerie pale glow over the place. At the far end, an immense iron door filled most of the wall. Several other passageways snaked off in various directions along the sides of the cave, but Lewa didn’t spare them a glance. His eyes were trained on that giant door.
“That’s it,” he whispered in awe. “That’s where we’ll find Makuta.”
Nobody answered, but he could feel that they were all in agreement. Tahu gripped his sword tightly. “All right, then,” he said. “If he’s in there, let’s go in and get him.”
“Tahu, wait,” Pohatu protested. “We can’t just rush in there without a plan, or –”
A piercing shriek filled the room, echoing wildly. Whirling around, Lewa saw a pair of monstrous Rahi skittering out of two side passage-ways. They were immense, broad and squat but surprisingly fast. Their powerful arms ended in dangerous-looking pincers.
“What are those?” Pohatu cried.
Lewa gasped, recognizing the creatures from a Turaga’s description. “Manas. I rememberthink they’re called Manas.”
“They’re just more Rahi,” Tahu shouted, already swinging his fire sword. “Nothing we can’t handle. Come on!”
Lewa hesitated – the Turaga had warned then that no single Toa could hope to take on the Manas. But perhaps together… He somersaulted through the air toward one of the creatures, landing on its back. He grabbed it and tried to flip it over, but it was larger than he’d expected and tossed him off easily.
“Oof!” he grunted, landing hard on the stone floor.
He leaped back into the fray, joining Tahu and Onua as they battled furiously against one of the Manas. Pohatu raced past, pausing long enough to whisper in Lewa’s ear.
“Gali has set a trap,” he said. “Help me lead the Manas toward that small tunnel back there.”
Lewa nodded. Pohatu let out a whoop and raced to the back of the cave. Lewa jumped forward and smacked the nearby Manas on its shell-like back before somersaulting away. “Catch me if you can, uglypincher!” he taunted.
The Manas paused, turning toward him. But then it returned its attention to Onua, snapping at him with its deadly claws.
“This way, brother,” Lewa shouted, waving his arms at Onua. “Run this way.”
Onua managed to dodge the creature’s blows and raced toward Lewa. “What is it, brother?” he asked breathlessly.
“A plan,” Lewa told him. “Come on, we need to lead them this way.”
Nearby, he saw that Kopaka was doing his best to lure the second Manas in the same direction. He wielded his ice blade coolly, backing up a few steps each time the Manas lunged at him. Beside him, Gali served as a distraction whenever the creature seemed to be getting the better of the Ice Toa.
Step by step, the six Toa led the Manas toward the tunnel. Lewa glanced behind him, noting the water lapping at the mouth of the tunnel. He didn’t know the details of the plan, but he could guess them.
If we can get this monsterpair trapped in that tunnel, sister Gali can ask the waters to awaycarry them, he thought. Then we can stoneblock the tunnel, and get back to finding Makuta.
Lewa felt his body quivering with eagerness to move, but he forced himself to wait. They had to act together, or the plan would fail.
When Gali spoke, it was a single word. “Now,” she said.
The Toa all acted at once. Lewa, Tahu, Pohatu and Onua rushed forward and leaped past or over the two Manas, putting the creatures between themselves and the tunnel. Meanwhile, Gali rushed closer to the tunnel’s entrance, and the waters within started to churn.
But what is our icebrother doing? Lewa wondered even as he began to swing his blade at the Manas, driving them back.
He soon understood. As the water in the tunnel entrance splashed out onto the cavern floor, Kopaka pointed his ice blade at it, freezing it solid. Soon a slick coating of ice covered much of the floor between the Manas and the tunnel. Once the creatures reached the ice, it would be easier to push them into the watery trap.
“Almost there!” Tahu shouted. “Come on, brothers! Let’s finish this!”
Lewa leaped forward again, swinging at the closer of the two Manas. The creature hissed furiously, striking back with deadly accuracy. Its claw struck the Air Toa on the shoulder, sending him rocketing backward.
Ignoring the pain in his shoulder, he leaped back into action. The Manas took another step backward, then another… until it finally hit the ice.
“Push!” Tahu howled, hurling himself at the creature. By this time Kopaka had joined the fighters, and the five of them leaped at the two Manas, shoving them toward Gali’s tunnel.
Lewa could see the creatures’ claws striking his comrades again and again – he felt powerful blows land on his own body. But he ignored the pain. All that mattered was the plan…
The Manas skittered across the ice, heading straight toward the tunnel.
“Come on!” Tahu shouted, pointing his fire sword at the ground to melt the ice that now law between the Toa and their quarry. “Don’t give them a chance to escape.”
But before the Toa could reach the Manas to give them a last push into the cave, the two crablike creatures spun toward each other. Hissing loudly, each of them reached out its claws, locking them together until they seemed to merge into one even more enormous creature.
“Oh no!” Onua cried. “Look at them – they’re too big for the tunnel now!”
“They’re working together,” Kopaka said grimly. “I didn’t think the Rahi were capable of such intelligence.”
Pohatu shook his head. “These Manas creatures are not ordinary Rahi.”
Lewa was already leaping into action. “We are not planlost yet,” he cried. “I’ll separate them if I can…”
Without waiting for a reply, Lewa somersaulted forward. He crashed headlong into tangle of claws that held the two Manas together.
The creatures let out a furious hiss. Acting together, they swung their joined claws outward, sending Lewa flying across the cave. He smashed against the wall and landed in a heap, dazed.
As he climbed to his feet, he saw the paired Manas bounce off of the too-small tunnel entrance. Soon they had rocketed back across the remains of the ice onto dry ground. There, they separated and returned their attention to the surprised Toa.
These are no ordinary Rahi, Lewa thought as he saw the Manas’ pincer land a powerful blow on Tahu, knocking him into the wall. No ordinary Rahi at all.