Tahu opened his eyes and sat up, unsure how much time had passed. There was no sign of the Bohrok-Kal anywhere.
Beside him, Lewa began to stir. “Ugh,” he said blearily. “What happened?”
“I believe we have just been given a warning by the Bohrok-Kal,” Onua said heavily, pushing himself upright. “They obviously do not want us interfering with their search.”
Tahu scowled. “No?” he cried, jumping to his feet. “Well, the Bohrok-Kal will pay for daring to challenge the Toa Nuva. We shall –”
“Tahu!” Gali cut him off. By this time all six Toa were awake, sitting up and testing their limbs for injury. “This is no time to worry about our pride. If they find Cahdok and Gahdok and free them, the Bohrok swarms will strike again!”
“But how do we stop them?” Pohatu sounded worried. “Our powers are gone.”
Tahu noticed that Lewa’s eyes were clouded and his expression slightly pained. “What is it, brother?” he asked with concern. “Are you hurt?”
Lewa shook his head. “No, it’s not that,” he said. “It’s just…” His voice trailed off hesitantly.
“What?” Tahu asked sharply, not liking the look in Lewa’s eyes. It reminded him of the way the Air Toa had looked after being taken over by the Bohrok swarms. “Tell us what’s wrong.” It was an order, not a suggestion.
“Fine, fine,” Lewa said. “Don’t get your swords in a muddletwist. I – I could be dream-thinking it from the blow. But I thought I heard something. From the Bohrok-Kal.”
“Heard something?” Gali repeated with interest. “What do you mean?”
Lewa shrugged. “Communication. Thought-talk,” he said. “Like that of the krana.”
Pohatu blinked in surprise. “Are you saying there are krana inside these Bohrok-Kal, controlling them, just as there were in the Bohrok?”
“That would make sense,” Kopaka pointed out. “These Bohrok-Kal seem to be related to the Bohrok somehow. They share the same goal.”
“Not exactly,” Gali said. “After all, Bohrok-Kal don’t seem interested in damaging anything. They left the villages untouched.”
“They’re trying to frighten us,” Lewa said. “To make us run so we won’t try to stop them.”
Kopaka scowled. “No one makes me run,” he said coldly. “No one.”
For once, Tahu agreed with the Ice Toa. “Enough talk,” he said. “Gali, you, Pohatu, and Onua go back to the Bohrok nest – see if you can discover what happened to Cahdok and Gahdok. Kopaka, Lewa, and I will keep after the Bohrok-Kal – see if we can slow them down.”
“I suggest we all keep our eyes out for Kanohi Nuva masks,” Onua said as he joined Gali and Pohatu. “With our elemental energies gone, we need all the help we can get.”
Onua was troubled as he followed Gali and Pohatu, heading for the entrance to the Bahrag’s nest. How are we supposed to do it? he thought uneasily. How are we supposed to fulfill our destiny to protect Mata Nui when our greatest powers have been taken from us?
Gali glanced over her shoulder at him. “This is a momentous challenge that we face, brother,” she commented. “Perhaps the greatest test yet of our resolve.”
Shading his eyes against the glare of the sun, Onua smiled at her. He had often noticed that the Toa of Water could all but read others’ thoughts at times.
“Yes,” he agreed. “It will not be easy. But we cannot falter. All of Mata Nui depends on us.”
“The weakness this time may lie in the krana-kal,” Gali pointed out. “They could be controlling the Bohrok-Kal just as the krana controlled the regular swarms.”
Onua nodded. “I was thinking about that, too,” he said. “I hope brother Lewa is right about hearing krana voices. It could be our only hope.”
“I suppose so,” Pohatu said. “If we can figure out a way to separate the krana-kal from the Bohrok-Kal, we just might –”
“Hush,” Onua broke in, picking up a sound from somewhere up ahead.
A second later, something large and fast-moving crashed into sight from around a bend in the riverbed. It was the reddish-colored Bohrok-Kal, the one known as the Tahnok-Kal.
“Stand aside, Toa Nuva,” it hissed loudly as it came. “You are in my way.”
“We will not,” Pohatu said boldly. “If you want to go this way, you’ll have to go through us.”
Onua stepped up beside him, as did Gali. The Tahnok-Kal didn’t slow its pace. It merely raised its shield, sending several lightning bolts shooting out of it.
“Look out!” Gali shouted, but it was too late. The bolts hit the ground beneath Onua, flinging him into the air, where he tumbled over and over before landing with a heavy thud on the bank of the dry river.
“Oof!” Pohatu grunted as he landed beside him a second later. Nearby, Gali dropped heavily onto the hard-packed ground as well.
Onua blinked, trying to clear his mind. Pushing himself upright, he looked down into the riverbed just in time to see the Tahnok-Kal hurrying on without a backward glance.
The Toa of Earth squinted, willing his sun-weakened eyes to focus. “Look,” he croaked, pointing. “Is that…?”
The other two followed his gaze. Gali gasped. “A krana-kal!” she said. “The creature carries it beneath its face shield. So Lewa was right!”
Pohatu stared after the Tahnok-Kal as it disappeared around a bend. “That thing,” he said, sounding shaken. “It didn’t even slow down! It just knocked us aside and kept going.”
Gali climbed to her feet. “Come on, brothers,” she said wearily. “The only good news is that the Tahnok-Kal was heading away from the tunnel entrance. We’d better take advantage and get there before it does.”
Soon the three of them were hurrying up a rocky slope. At the top, Onua knew they would find the entrance, buried under a giant pile of rocks. After their battle with the Bohrok queens, an avalanche had completely covered the opening.
Pohatu was already moving forward toward the pile of rocks. He drew back one foot and kicked at a large boulder.
“Ow!” he shouted as his foot connected with the solid stone. The boulder didn’t budge.
“Pohatu, don’t,” Gali said gently. “Without your powers, you’ll only wear yourself out.”
Onua sighed. “We’re going to have to find a different way,” he said.
Gali stared at the covered cave entrance. “I’m starting to think that seeking out the Bahrag ourselves is a waste of time,” she said. “It’s unlikely we would be able to stop the Bohrok-Kal from getting to them anyway. I think we should focus instead on finding a way to get those krana-kal. Without them, the Bohrok-Kal will most likely be left directionless – and harmless.”
“I agree,” Onua said. “We need to get those krana-kal – any way we can.”