Kapura moved swiftly (for him) through the shadows of Metru Nui. His destination was the outskirts of Ga-Metru, specifically a portion of the Archives underneath that spot. The sign carved into the wall outside his shelter had told him where to go, and even who was to meet him there, but not the most important answer: why.
Cautiously, he peered around the corner of a building. The way seemed clear. Rahkshi stood guard over most entrances to the Archives, but not this one. It led to a section of the vast museum that had been deemed unsafe centuries ago and abandoned. Even when Matoran and Toa retreated below in the days right after Makuta’s takeover of the universe, they had avoided this region.
He slipped across the street and, with great effort, raised the hatch. It let out a shrill creak he was sure every Rahkshi in the city could hear. Kapura froze. Was that the whistling sound of Rahkshi flying through the air toward him? No, it was just steam escaping in Ta-Metru. He waited a moment more, and when no hostile force appeared, he ducked into the tunnel and closed the hatch behind him.
It was dark and dank inside. The faint stench of Muaka lingered in the air. Kapura found himself remembering another recent visit to the Archives, when he had gotten lost in the maze of passageways. That time, he had almost wound up a meal for an escaped exhibit and it was only the timely arrival of Toa Takanuva that saved him. He wished that his friend had picked a different place for their meeting… but then remembered that only this sort of a spot would do.
Macku stepped out from a recess in the wall. Her blue armor was stained with mud and she moved with a slight limp, a souvenir of an escape from some Exo-Toa a few days before.
“Sorry,” said Kapura. “I had to make sure I wasn’t followed.”
“We’ll wait a few more minutes for Hafu,” Macku said. She sounded tired… no, beyond tired, Kapura thought. More like she was barely holding herself together.
“Is he working today?”
Kapura frowned. All of the Po-Matoran carvers had been put to work carving statues of Makuta for placement all around the city. The order hadn’t come from their new “Great Spirit,” but rather from the new “Turaga” of Metru Nui – Ahkmou. No, he wasn’t a true Turaga – he had never been a Toa, after all, which was the prerequisite – but his past association with Makuta had put him in a position of power in the city.
“We should have killed that lousy traitor long ago,” Macku muttered.
Every Matoran remembered Ahkmou’s crimes on the island of Mata Nui, involving the sale of koli balls tainted with Makuta’s darkness. Many had heard the tales of his sins on Metru Nui as well, in the weeks before the Great Cataclysm. Although he had largely kept to himself for the past year, no one really trusted him. But Turaga Vakama insisted he not be exiled. “Better to keep a doom viper beside your bed than to let it wander free. At least then, you will know from which direction its strike will come.”
The hatch opened again with a screech. A shaft of dirty light pierced the gloom of the Archives. Macku and Kapura instinctively hid until the light was gone. Then they heard the reassuring sound of Hafu’s voice, saying, “Anyone remember why we wanted to come back to this city?”
Macku laughed, though there really was nothing to laugh at. But it felt good to be around these two Matoran again. So many of the others up above had given up. Rahkshi and Exo-Toa were everywhere, and the only Toa visible were the Toa Hagah, who seemed oblivious to everything going on around them. When questioned, they insisted that Makuta Teridax had been defeated and all was well on Metru Nui. Worse, one could tell they really believed this delusion.
“What’s the situation?” asked Hafu. “You know that symbol is only supposed to be used in an emergency.”
“This is an emergency,” Macku assured him. She had taken a great risk drawing the “help” symbol – a crude sketch of a Rahkshi – near the homes of her friends. Ahkmou had forbidden the creation of any unauthorized art.
The Ga-Matoran turned and headed deeper into the Archives. Hafu and Kapura followed. She led them all the way down into the sub-levels, moving as if she knew the place as well as Ga-Metru. Kapura was completely lost and he suspected Hafu was, too.
“In here,” Macku said quietly. She beckoned them to follow her into a large chamber that had once housed a particularly nasty specimen of Rahi primate. There was someone else in there now – a Toa of Water, wounded, stretched out on the stone floor. But it wasn’t Gali or Gaaki or any other Toa Kapura recognized.
“Who is she? Where did she come from?” asked Hafu. Suspicion colored his voice. He had seen too many Makuta tricks to believe anything at first glance anymore.
“She says her name is Tuyet,” said Macku. “And that she’s here to help.”
Hafu had heard the name once… something to do with Toa Lhikan, if he recalled correctly, but he didn’t know the tale. “She doesn’t look like she can help herself, let alone us.”
“You might… be… surprised,” the female Toa said, lifting her head to look at Hafu. “So might a lot of people. Tell me, where is Toa Lhikan?”
“Dead,” said Kapura. “Killed by Makuta.”
Hafu shot him a look. It wasn’t smart to share information with strangers like that.
“And Toa Nidhiki?”
Kapura glanced at Hafu and shrugged. Then he turned back to Tuyet. “Dead, too. Makuta… ate him, I guess.”
“Look, we’re happy to see you and all,” said Hafu. “But one Toa more or less isn’t going to make a difference here. Not unless you have a super-weapon hidden away that can cleanse Metru Nui of Makuta’s forces.”
Tuyet sat up. She reached into her pouch and pulled out a piece of crystal about the size of her fist. “As a matter of fact, that’s exactly what I do have.”
“And do you think Makuta will give you the chance to use it?” asked Macku. Half hopeful, half skeptical.
“Makuta is the Great Spirit, correct?” asked Tuyet. “And the Great Spirit knows all about everyone who lives in his universe… where they are, what they’re doing… all he has to do is think about them?”
Tuyet smiled. “Then I am the perfect ally, little ones. I am dead… and have been for some 2000 years.”