Onua walked on toward the outskirts of the treetop town. As he drew closer, he became aware of a sound somewhere ahead.
Onua took a cautious step forward, then another. This jungle makes me nervous, he thought. All I have to do is find Lewa, and then I can get out of here.
“I don’t think it’s going to be that easy,” a cold, metallic voice spoke from directly behind him.
“Lewa!” Onua gasped – just as a mighty gust of wind sent him spinning backward onto the ground.
“Surprise,” Lewa sneered through the pulsing krana mask. “I heard you were looking for me. So here I am!”
Onua was speechless – it was Lewa, but this was not the Lewa he knew. The Air Toa wore a new mask now – a Bohrok’s krana – and behind it, his eyes burned with anger.
“Don’t try to fight me, Onua. You can’t win. We’re too strong.”
Perhaps I should tunnel beneath him, Onua thought uncertainly. If I can knock him off balance long enough to get my hands on that krana…
“Just go ahead and try it, earthworm,” Lewa said with a laugh. There was no hint of the real Lewa in the voice. “You’ll find the ground here a bit marshier than in your wormholes down in Onu-Wahi. You’ll find me a bit quicker than a worm, too.”
“What – you – you read my thoughts, Lewa?” Onua stammered in surprise.
Krana Lewa chuckled. “I am a Bohrok Za, a squad leader,” he said. “My telepathic powers are meant to communicate with my swarm. But your thoughts are so slow and transparent that I can read them with no effort at all.”
Onua frowned. His chances were not looking good at the moment. The creature before him had not only the ruthlessness of the Bohrok, but also the strength and knowledge of Toa Lewa. It seemed an invincible combination.
But I have faced many invincible challenges before and prevailed, he reminded himself. Perhaps if I approach things another way…
“There is no other way,” Lewa hissed, leaping forward.
There was no way Onua could dodge in time. He was flung backward and landed against a tree trunk with a thud. When I went looking for Lewa, I didn’t think success would be quite so painful, he thought, shaking his head to clear it.
When he stood, he saw Lewa watching him. Lewa’s body twisted suddenly, as if fighting against itself. “Onua, get away from here – please!” Lewa blurted, the real Lewa. “Flee before I am forced to harm you.”
“I think I have a better idea,” Onua muttered.
He leaped forward, smashing the ground with his fists. A great wave of earth rose up like a tidal wave, sweeping toward Krana Lewa.
But the infected Toa somersaulted easily over the passing quake. “Leave while there’s still time,” Lewa cried, his voice filled with pain. “I can feel the power building! Even your strength won’t be able to defeat me soon.”
Onua wasn’t sure what to try next. Lewa was strong in battle – too strong. He wasn’t sure he could defeat him. But he certainly wasn’t going to allow this – this krana thing to see that.
Or was he right in thinking of Lewa that way? No matter what he might wear on his face, beneath the mask he was still Lewa – Toa friend, hero.