* * *

There was no direct route to the spot where Matoro had sighted the Matoran, just a winding path through the foothills and into the mountains. At one point, Hahli suggested that Matoro use his mask power again to find them, but the Toa of Ice refused, still disturbed from his last experience. Jaller finally coaxed Nuparu close enough to the ground to communicate what they were looking for and asked him to scout from the air.

He returned within a few minutes to say he had not seen any Matoran, but that he had spotted something that was most definitely not a villager or a Toa. “A face only a mother Manas could love,” Nuparu said. “And he’s armed.”

“Only one?” asked Jaller.

Nuparu nodded. “Blue armor, nasty spikes, weapons in both hands. I saw him make a rock explode just by glancing at it.”

“Sounds like someone we should talk to.”

“Yeah, let’s take him down,” agreed Hewkii. When the others turned to look at him, he smiled and said, “Hey, I’m Toa of Stone now. A rock has been destroyed – I have to avenge it, don’t I?”

Vezok’s eyes were riveted on the dark sky. He could have sworn he had seen a flying figure a few moments before. Whatever it was had spotted him, then turned tail and soared off. Worse, it didn’t look like just some flying Rahi.

The last time he had seen someone “fly” on this island, it had been Reidak and he had been hurled into the air by –

Suddenly, he knew just what he had seen. For an instant, he considered running back and getting the others. Then the potential for the kind of victory that vaulted one to leadership crossed his mind, not to mention all the loot that might be his. The other Piraka, he decided, would really just get in the way.

He broke into a run, already anticipating the battle to come.

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