Kopaka glanced toward the hole in the floor of the underground chamber. How long had it been since Lewa had levitated down through it?
To distract himself, he looked around the underground chamber. It hadn’t changed much since the last time he had seen it, just after the defeat of the Bahrag. The only real difference was the jagged hole burned into the floor.
Onua was standing near the hole, his head tipped to one side. “Do you hear something?”
Gali smiled. “None of us have the sensitive hearing you do, brother,” she reminded him. “What do you hear?”
“I’m not sure.” Onua frowned, leaning closer to the hole. “Strange, faraway sounds – like shattering glass or stone. I hope Lewa is okay. Maybe we shouldn’t have let him go down alone.”
“He is the best of all of us at moving quickly and silently,” Pohatu reminded him. “Anyway, if he doesn’t return soon, we can –”
“Everbad sightnews!” Lewa said, popping up out of the hole so suddenly that the waiting Toa Nuva all jumped in surprise. He sounded breathless, and his eyes were wide and worried. “The Bohrok-Kal are downcave, all right. They’re groupstanding cubefront with their iconloot, and the hardluck Exo-Toa is downfalling everquick, and –”
“Wait!” Onua cut him off. “Brother, slow down. What are you telling us?”
Lewa took a deep breath. “Truesorry,” he said. “It’s just that what I saw was so scarybad. The Exo-Toa – they were watchguarding the Bahrag’s prison. By themselves.”
Kopaka blinked in surprise. The suits of armor – they could act on their own?
“Are you sure?” he asked Lewa.
“Truesure,” Lewa replied. “They were fighting against the Bohrok-Kal – but having sorrybad luck at it. I saw the creatures destroy most of the Exo-Toa before I hurryleft to come back.”
Gali’s eyes were somber. “I see,” she said. “What was that you said about a cube?”
“Oh!” Lewa said quickly. “There was a cube – a lightglowing, airhovering thing. It was in front of the darkcavern. I couldn’t see what was inside the cavern. But I can dreadguess.”
“Cahdok and Gahdok,” Pohatu said solemnly, voicing what all were thinking.
Lewa nodded. “The cube had shapecarved spaces on each side,” he said. “A perfect fit for the power symbols that were stolen from us.”
“That must be why the Bohrok-Kal wanted the icons,” Onua said, his eyes lighting up with realization. “They must need to fit them into that cube in order to release the Bahrag – it’s like a lock of some kind.”
“This is bad,” Kopaka said. “We’d better get down there and do whatever we can to stop them.”
“How?” Pohatu wondered. “We still don’t have our powers. It sounds like we don’t even have the Exo-Toa option anymore. All we have is a few paltry mask powers.”
“Yes, a few mask powers,” Gali said. “And our wits. And our duty.”
Tahu strode toward the hole. “And that will have to be enough.”
A few paltry mask powers, Tahu thought as he levitated down the long, dark tunnel. If the others only knew about the not-so-paltry mask power I hold – but is now finally the time to reveal it?
He thought back to that moment in the suva in Ta-Koro. He could almost hear Vakama’s solemn words echoing in his head. He who controls time controls reality – controls everything.
Tahu grimaced. Was he ready to control everything? Could anyone ever be truly ready for that – even a powerful Toa Nuva?
Tahu slowed his descent as the lower cavern came into view. All six of the Bohrok-Kal were there, gathered around the floating cube. What was left of the Exo-Toa lay scattered on the stone floor nearby – most of the suits had been pulled to pieces.
“There must be something we can do,” Gali said.
Tahu took a deep breath, suddenly feeling in his heart that the decision was already made. It had been destined – all he had to do was accept it.
“There is,” he said.