Vakama, Onewa, Nuhrii and Ahkmou were the first to make it back to the Great Temple. It was Onewa who spotted the squad of Ga-Metru Vahki circling the place.
“What do you think? Could Nokama and Matau be in trouble?” asked Vakama.
Onewa shook his head. “If they had taken two Toa Metru in, the Vahki wouldn’t still be here. I’m guessing our friends slipped away and the Vahki are searching the area for them.”
“And the other Toa Metru could walk right into their claws. We have to lure them away from here. But what would make Vahki pass up the chance to capture two powerful strangers who appeared in their metru?”
“How about six?” said Onewa, smiling.
“Did I mention this was a bad idea?” asked Nuhrii, trying not to tremble.
“At least eight times,” answered Onewa. “It’s simple. Just run up to the Vahki and say what we told you.”
“Why would they listen to a Ta-Matoran? This is Ga-Metru!”
“Nuhrii, if a Rahi with a slime trail came up to them and told them where to find us, they would listen,” said Onewa. “Don’t worry. We’d send Ahkmou, but bad things tend to happen whenever he’s out of my sight.”
“Remember, this isn’t just about us,” said Vakama. “It’s for the sake of the whole city.”
The Ta-Matoran shrugged. “Yeah. So you keep saying.”
Nuhrii dashed out into the avenue and ran straight for the Great Temple. The Vahki immediately flew down and surrounded him. The Toa could not hear what the Matoran was saying, but if he stuck to the script, he was claiming to have seen six strangers on the other end of the metru. They were keeping Matoran from doing their work and generally causing trouble.
As Onewa had expected, that was all the Vahki needed to hear. The Bordakh transformed from bipeds to four-legged creatures, their tools now serving as their front legs. Then they flew off in the direction Nuhrii had pointed. As soon as they were gone, the Ta-Matoran sank to his knees.
Vakama ran over to him. “Good job, Nuhrii.”
“You owe me one,” said Nuhrii. “You all owe me one.”
“Let’s hope the city survives long enough for you to collect.” Vakama turned at the familiar voice. Nokama was standing behind him with Whenua, Matau, and Nuju, and all were carrying Great Disks. A feeling of relief washed over him – in their first great test, the Toa Metru had succeeded.
“We did as you asked,” said Nuju.
“We sought-found the Great Disks,” added Matau. “Now what?”
“Tell us how to save the city,’’ said Whenua.
“Ummmm… well…” Vakama began. His visions had only shown that the Great Disks were needed to stop the destruction of Metru Nui. The “how” of it had never been revealed.
“Come on, fire-spitter, this was all your idea,” snapped Onewa. “We chased all over the city for these things. What are we supposed to do with them?”
“We are supposed to act like Toa,” said Nokama. “Vakama put us on the right path. Now we must all decide on the next step. Let us share what we know. Vhisola’s researches confirmed what Vakama said – the six Great Disks, used together, can defeat the Morbuzakh. More, it seems there is a single root that is the center of this menace.”
“Ehrye showed me records in the Knowledge Tower that refer to a ‘king root,’” said Nuju. “It can be recognized by the brown stripe that runs up and down its length.”
“But where can it be?” asked Whenua. “It must be huge, to support so many vines over so much distance. Where could such a thing conceal itself?”
“The Archives?” suggested Onewa. “You could hide a Bohrok swarm or three in that place, and still have room for an akilini disk tournament.”
Whenua shook his head. “I’ll admit there are a lot of unexplored places down there, but I think we would have noticed evil greenery. What do we know about this thing that might suggest a hiding place?”
“It’s strong. It’s persistent,” Vakama began. “It doesn’t seem to like the cold, but thrives in heat. I’ve never seen anything else survive in a fire pit.”
“The Great Furnace,” muttered Nuhrii. When the Toa all turned to look at him, he said, “Don’t you see? If it loves the heat, what better place to hide?”
“He’s right,” said the Toa of Fire. “Outside of the fire pits, which are too heavily guarded to provide sanctuary, the Great Furnace is the most significant source of heat in Ta-Metru. If it’s driven Matoran away from the area, the Morbuzakh king root could easily conceal itself there.”
“Then our course of action is clear,” said Nokama. “If there’s a chance the root of this menace is in the Great Furnace, then it is to the Great Furnace we shall go. And Vakama will lead us.”
“Is that so knowing-wise?” asked Matau. “What makes him any better than the rest?”
Nokama started to answer, but Vakama cut her off. “I’m not interested in being a leader. All I care about is saving the city. Ta-Metru is my home, and I know it better than any of you, so maybe Nokama’s right in saying I should be in charge. After we defeat the Morbuzakh, you can all do as you like.”
“Too much talking,” said Nuju. “Not enough doing. Let’s get this over with.”
“Any special reason for your hurry?” asked Onewa.
“I hate plants,” answered Nuju, as he walked away.
Over their strong objections, the Matoran were going along on the journey to Ta-Metru. Matau had joked that their job would be to keep the king root busy while the Toa waited for the right moment. He assured them that the moment would surely come while at least a few of them were still on their feet. It took Nokama some time to calm them down after that, and she firmly asked Matau to please keep his jokes to himself.
They were traveling along back paths through the city. By now, the Vahki in all six metru had been stirred up and would be watching the chutes. Whenua commented that it was too bad they couldn’t change back to Matoran at will, if only to be able to sneak around more effectively.
“You can go back to being a Matoran if you want,” Matau had replied. “I like being a Toa-hero!”
By the time they reached the borders of Ga-Metru, Vhisola was looking over her shoulder every few seconds. While the Toa were scanning the air for signs of Vahki, her eyes were fixed on the ground, the shadowy alleys, and anywhere else from which danger might spring.
“What’s the matter, Vhisola?” asked Nokama. “You are with six Toa. You will be safe.”
“No, I won’t,” she whispered. “Neither will you, any of you. Don’t you know what they say about Morbuzakh vines?”
“When the Morbuzakh knows you are looking for it –” Vhisola paused and looked around again. Then, in a whisper so soft Nokama could barely hear, she said:
“It comes looking for you.”