Takua stared at the wave rushing toward him, mesmerized by its size and power. Suddenly a huge red figure appeared at the far side of the river, blending in with the fiery color of the lava. He surfed across the river, impossibly fast, heading directly toward Takua as the wave crested.
A moment later, Takua felt himself grabbed and yanked out of the path of the wave.
“Toa Tahu!” he exclaimed in surprise.
Tahu flung Takua onto his back.
“Chronicler!” Tahu said over his shoulder as he surfed expertly across the lava. “Sight-seeing, were you? Let’s take a closer look at those falls.”
Back on the shore, Jaller saw the huge figure of the Toa of Fire suddenly emerge from in front of the lava wave.
He watched as the Toa shot straight off the edge of the falls and disappeared. A split second later the wave of lava crashed down, spurting over the falls.
Jaller shuddered with horror, feeling his knees go weak. Takua! There was no way he could have escaped the lava. Toa Tahu was too late, he thought bleakly.
Meanwhile, Tahu surfed down the sheer vertical face of Lava Falls.
Takua clung to the Toa’s shoulders, hardly daring to keep his eyes open. Tahu’s skill had carried them this far – but how was he going to save them from plunging into the lava at the base of the falls?
Then he made the mistake of glancing up. He gulped in terror as he saw the enormous lava wave rushing toward them.
Their fall suddenly stopped short. Scrambling to keep hold of Tahu’s shoulders, he saw that the Toa had broken his lava board into two pieces – twin magma swords. He had plunged those swords into the solid rock behind the falls.
“So, Takua,” the Toa said teasingly. “Is this view close enough?”
Takua was too petrified to speak. Finally he found his voice again. “Incoming!”
Tahu glanced up at the lava wave, which was nearly upon them. A translucent red force field shot out from his mask, surrounding him and Takua in a glowing sphere of energy.
The lava wave thundered over and around them, but the red force field protected them from its touch.
As the shielding force field faded, Tahu pulled one of his swords out of the rock. He reached up and stabbed it back in a little higher, pulling himself and Takua up the cliff like an ice climber. Takua held on as the Toa climbed steadily upward, one sword’s length at a time, trying to calm the wild, terrified beating of his heart.
At the top of the falls, Jaller was kneeling in grief beside a sobbing Pewku. Why did he have to do it? he wondered. Was this stupid mask really worth it? We could all be safe at the kolhii tournament right now…
His grief was interrupted by Toa Tahu somersaulting into view from over the edge of the falls. Jaller jumped in surprise.
“Toa Tahu!” he cried with a sudden burst of hope. But there was no sign of Takua at the Toa’s side, and Jaller quickly slumped into sadness again. “Takua?” he asked quietly. “He didn’t…”
Suddenly Takua hopped to the ground from somewhere behind the Toa’s back. He was grinning from ear to ear. Pewku jumped toward her master happily, nearly knocking him over.
Jaller leaped to his feet as well, flooded with relief. “You’re alive!” he cried. “Kolhii-head! You could’ve been lava bones!”
“Could’ve been,” Takua said, gently pushing away the enthusiastic Pewku. “But I’m not.”
Tahu was staring at the mask in Jaller’s hands. He reached over and grabbed it.
“A Great Kanohi mask,” he said in surprise.
“It was in the lava,” Jaller told the Toa. “Takua –”
“This could be important,” Tahu interrupted, handing the mask back to Jaller. “Take it to Turaga Vakama.”
Jaller nodded and turned away, ready to do what the suddenly stern Toa had ordered. But Tahu stopped him with a smile.
“After you’ve won the kolhii match,” Tahu finished. “Now get going, and no sight-seeing!”
“Yes, Toa Tahu!” Jaller said happily. He raced toward the steps back up to the village, with Takua and Pewku right behind him.