Onua was walking through a tunnel that led toward the village of Onu-Koro.
These Bohrok will stop at nothing until Mata Nui has been completely leveled, he mused. But why?
He paused, hearing a faint sound from somewhere off to the left.
CHINNGCH! CHINNGCH! CHINNGCH!
Onua frowned. That didn’t sound like any digging or mining tool he knew.
“Bohrok,” he murmured. “I wonder where you are? Let’s see if we can find a shortcut.”
He listened for another second or two, and then struck with his fists. He broke through the tunnel wall, burrowing straight through the solid earth. He burst through a moment later into a cavern that lay just a few hundred yards from the arched stone gates of Onu-Koro.
The place was crawling with the dark, smooth shapes of Bohrok. As Onua watched, a pair of the creatures drilled a series of short tunnels into the wall on the far side of the cave. The wall shuddered and shifted.
“Hey!” Onua cried. But it was too late. The wall and the ceiling above crumbled and fell in on itself, raining debris onto the ground. The Bohrok moved on to another spot a few yards away. The rest of the swarm were drilling in other spots along the wall – if Onua didn’t stop them, they would bring down the entire cavern.
Nuhvok. That was what the Turaga had called them – swarms of Bohrok that tunneled deep underground, destroying the island from the inside out.
He leaped forward, grabbing the nearest Bohrok. It let out a hiss of annoyance and tossed him away.
Surprised at the creature’s strength, Onua resumed his attack. “Don’t think you can get away with that.”
This time he grabbed the creature by one of its legs, flipping it head over heels. The Nuhvok’s headplate struck a rock and flipped open.
“That’s more like it,” Onua said, grabbing the glowing green krana inside and peeling it free.
He left the Nuhvok and moved on, glancing at the krana he held as he did. Its shape was slightly different from the one Tahu had removed outside Ta-Koro.
Over the next few minutes, he managed to gather several more krana. It wasn’t an easy task – the Bohrok were strong, and whenever one came to another’s aid Onua quickly found himself overpowered. Several times, only the Nuhvok’s slow reactions saved the Toa from disaster.
“This is taking too long,” he said. As long as there were so many of them, so totally focused on destruction that they couldn’t be distracted…
Onua suddenly stood up straight. He had an idea – a way he might be able to use the Bohrok’s own focus against them. Glancing out of his tunnel, he noted that the Nuhvok were methodically taking down the dozen or so stone columns that helped support the cavern’s roof. They seemed determined to destroy each column and collapse the entire cavern.
Dodging the slow-moving creatures, which ignored him as usual, Onua raced to the center of the room, where a cluster of columns still stood.
I just need a few seconds…
He quickly dug a trench in the floor, a skinny moat surrounding the group of columns.
Then he waited.
It wasn’t long before several Nuhvok turned their attention toward the remaining columns. One moved toward them, pausing on the lip of the trench in apparent confusion.
Onua leaped forward and gave the creature a shove. It let out a shriek of dismay as it toppled over, skidding straight into the trench.
“Now, let’s just see if I calculated the width correctly,” Onua murmured.
The Nuhvok fell about halfway to the bottom of the trench before the narrow walls stopped it. The creature struggled, its limbs waving helplessly. But it did no good. It was stuck between the walls of the trench!
“This is almost too easy,” Onua said, stepping forward and yanking back the Nuhvok’s headplate. He jumped back as the creature’s clawed arm swung toward him, nearly connecting with his head. “Hey, I said almost,” he added, ducking back in just long enough to grab the Nuhvok’s krana.
Luckily the Nuhvok seemed to have more determination than brains. Several more fell for the same trick, and before long Onua had a full set of krana.
“There,” he said. “That wasn’t so –”
A sudden scream echoed through the cavern. Onua spun around and saw a small Nuhvok Va careening toward him. He leaped aside, preparing to fight off its attack.
But the creature ignored him. It stopped in the middle of the cavern, still emitting its high-pitched screech. All the Nuhvok stopped what they were doing immediately and turned to face the Nuhvok Va. Then, as if with one mind, they all scattered in different directions. Within seconds, the cavern was empty except for Onua.
The Earth Toa stared after them in surprise. What had made them run away like that?
He hurried on until he reached the outskirts of Onu-Koro and gazed across the tunnel that encircled the village. The caverns he could see on the other side looked normal, and Onua let out a breath of relief, glad that his village had escaped the swarms.
“Whenua!” Onua shouted, calling for the Turaga as he raced into a spacious cavern. “Whenua, where are you?”
The Turaga appeared almost immediately. “Toa Onua!” he called out with a bow. “It is good to see you. The people are worried – we’ve heard terrible rumors –”
“What you’ve heard is most likely true. The Bohrok swarms have emerged, and they are on the move. I’m glad to see that Onu-Koro has so far been spared. And I intend to keep it that way if I can. I’ve just chased off a swarm of Nuhvok.”
“If anyone can protect us, Toa Onua, it’s you. Young Nuparu just left for the surface to see whether –”
“Shh,” Onua hushed him in midsentence. What was that? He’d felt a vibration, a sort of rumbling…
With a blast of sound and fury, a raging tidal wave roared into the cavern from the next tunnel, sweeping away villagers, stones, and earth.
Onua was blown off his feet by the force of the first wave. It smashed him against the rock dwellings behind him, and he scrabbled for a handhold as he felt the wild current yanking him away again.
Must – hold – on… he thought grimly as his hands slid across a smooth surface. He couldn’t see a thing – the water had knocked his mask askew, blocking his vision. But just as he felt his body being swept backward, the Earth Toa’s hands found a stone bar. Whatever it was, he gripped it tightly, praying that it was strong enough to withstand the rushing water.
After several endless seconds, the water receded as the flood thundered on into deeper tunnels. Onua clambered up the cave wall for a better look at the damage. What he saw made his heart sink – the water hadn’t had much effect on the basic structures, since they were carved out of the cave wall. But all the decorations and special touches the villagers had added to their dwellings had been swept away or destroyed. Lightposts had been knocked askew, their lightstones scattered. All sorts of debris floated on the water’s surface.
Whenua looked out from the doorway where he’d clung through the flood. “We’d better find out if everyone’s all right and get to the surface. It’s not safe to be here – if another wave of water comes, it could fill this cavern to the ceiling.”
Onua nodded. “Good plan. On the surface, we can seek out the other Toa and their villagers. The strength of these swarms are in their numbers – we need numbers on our side as well.”