“Are you two going to tell me what this is about?” Tahu Nuva asked.
Pohatu Nuva could tell that the Fire Toa was reaching the end of his meager store of patience. “Soon, brother,” he said soothingly. “It will be easier to discuss it when we’re all together.”
Onua, who was in the lead, glanced over his shoulder and nodded. “A Matoran told us he saw Gali, Lewa, and Kopaka here in the jungle. We should be with them shortly.”
Tahu sighed loudly, but didn’t protest further. Pohatu was relieved. If what he and Onua had just learned was true, the Toa Nuva had much more important things to do than bicker among themselves.
Soon they heard voices through the trees, and a moment later the other three Toa Nuva emerged in a clearing. Gali spotted them first.
“Brothers!” she called, hurrying toward them. “We were just talking about coming to find you. We’ve had a rather disturbing experience that we thought you should hear about.”
“You’re not the only ones,” Pohatu replied. “Wait until you hear what Onua and I found out.”
“Yes,” Tahu said irritably. “I have been waiting for that. Too long.”
Onua nodded at Gali and the other two Toa Nuva who had just hurried up behind her. “Why don’t you three go first?” he suggested.
“Well, it all began with Gali’s ideaplan,” Lewa said. “See, she and Kopaka had just help-found me after I had a tangle with the Kohrak-Kal, and –”
“Why don’t we try the short version of the story?” Kopaka interrupted. “We merged into Wairuha. Three Bohrok-Kal formed their own Kaita. They beat us.”
Lewa rolled his eyes. “Some storyteller you are,” he muttered.
Pohatu hardly heard him. He was too shocked by what Kopaka had just said. “The Toa Nuva Kaita,” he exclaimed. “And it was no match for the Bohrok-Kal?”
“Not even close,” Gali admitted. “Its power – it was astonishing. It disunited us, leaving us helpless. Fortunately it seemed to have no interest in fighting us further and left – heading toward the north.”
“We might know why it went that way,” Onua said heavily. “Come, let’s walk that direction ourselves as we talk – you’ll understand why in a moment. Pohatu, why don’t you tell them what we learned?”
Pohatu nodded. “With all due respect to brother Kopaka, I think I’ll tell the medium-length version of the story,” he said.
He went on to describe how he and Onua had tracked the Tahnok-Kal to the beach on the eastern shore of the island. They had hidden in the woods nearby and concocted a plan to disable it by reflecting its lightning bolts back over its head toward a tall tree behind the creature. For once, the plan had worked perfectly, and the tree had cracked and fallen right on the Tahnok-Kal, trapping it. The two Toa Nuva had been able to remove the krana-kal from the creature with little trouble.
“Then the krana-kal spoke to us,” Pohatu continued. “It told us we were already too late – that the Bohrok-Kal had learned where Cahdok and Gahdok were trapped.”
Lewa gasped. “But we were so sure that the swarmqueens were no more,” he exclaimed.
“We mentioned that to the krana-kal,” Onua said wryly. “It seemed quite convinced that we were wrong.”
Pohatu nodded. “The Bohrok swarms have left the villages where they were working. All of them seem to be heading back to their nest – as if obeying a command.”
Onua nodded. “If we’re to have any hope of protecting Mata Nui, we’ve got to get there before them,” he said. “That’s why we’re heading north – to Po-Wahi.”
By this time the group had reached the edge of the jungle. “So we’re going back to the tunnel entrance?” Gali asked. “But we’ve already been there. The tunnel was filled in with rocks.”
“Yes, we know,” Pohatu said. “But we have most of our Kanohi Nuva now. We might be able to push through somehow, or dig a shortcut into the lair. Just so long as we get down there before the Bohrok-Kal find their way underground.”
“What good will that do?” Lewa asked, vaulting over a low wall of tumbled stones. “Don’t you think they can easywin belowground as well as above it?”
Kopaka was looking thoughtful. “I know,” he spoke up. “The Exo-Toa.”
“That’s right,” Pohatu said. “We don’t have our powers, but the Exo-Toa armor will give us strength if we can reach them in time.”
The others nodded. They all remembered the giant suits of armor that they had encountered underground. The Exo-Toa armor had helped them trap Cahdok and Gahdok. The last they had seen it, it was still there near the Bahrag’s lair.
There was little conversation as the group continued across the plains and deserts of Po-Wahi, each deep in his or her own thoughts.
Finally they reached the base of the hill leading to the cave entrance. “Almost there,” Tahu commented. He led the way up the slope.
A moment later all six Toa Nuva stopped short, staring in surprise at the sight before them. The huge pile of rocks that had covered the entrance the last time they’d seen it was gone – completely melted. The entrance yawned open, leading down into the darkness.