All right, everyone, sorry about the delay on this one but I’ve been so busy with work that I haven’t had time to work on my stories. But anyways, here’s the next one. A small thing deviating from the canon story introduced here is that Nidhiki is not from the Tren Krom Peninsula. Also, credit to nuhrii-flaming and outofgloom on Tumblr for the day of the month, Olva. Anyways, give me your honest feedback as usual and here we go.
Legends of the Bionicle:
Lhikan and Nidhiki stood on the side of the dock in Ga-Metru, along with Vamkoda and Malohi, watching the Ga-Matoran regatta celebrating six years since the end of the Attack on Ga-Koro and the defeat of the Bohrok swarms. The day had become something of a holiday to the Ga-Matoran, commemorating the bravery shown by all the Matoran in the defense of Ga-Koro that day. Matoran from every metru lined the docks, laughing with each other and enjoying themselves. Turaga Nokama stood with Gaaki and Gali, watching the proceedings with pride. Vamkoda and Malohi cheered on Kai as she pulled ahead of the other racers.
“Go, Kai!” shouted Vamkoda.
“So this whole thing is remembering an attack from those mechanical bugs they found in Onu-Metru?” asked Nidhiki. “I didn’t think they would be any trouble.”
“They aren’t when they are dormant,” said Vamkoda. “But the Bohrok swarms are very dangerous when awakened. They did untold damage to our villages, including devastating Le-Koro.”
“I helped save the day!” Malohi interjected.
“Yeah, not really,” said Vamkoda.
“It’s nice to finally be getting back to something resembling normalcy,” said Lhikan. “It’s been a rough eight months.”
Vamkoda nodded in agreement. Eight months ago, the monstrous titan Voporak had attacked the Coliseum and stolen the legendary Mask of Time. Fortunately, no one had been killed but it was quite the blow to Metru Nui. And to make matters worse, Ahkmou and other provocateurs had been stirring up sentiment against the Resurrected, the term for the beings brought back to life through a time anomaly. Vamkoda wanted nothing more than to knock Ahkmou’s mask right off his face.
Starting two months ago, Matoran and Toa had started arriving on Metru Nui, drawn to the newly reinhabited City of Legends. Some were Resurrected. They brought with them many skills and ideas that helped improve the city and for the most part were a benefit. But some were reviled by the Resurrected and listened to Ahkmou’s lectures and agreed with him. Lhikan and Nidhiki never showed any great concern about it but to say that the Turaga were worried was an understatement.
Vamkoda noticed Lhikan was not watching the boats anymore and he followed the Toa’s gaze to see a Toa of Water watching the regatta. Lhikan seemed to be staring at her. “Uh, Lhikan?” said Vamkoda. “You okay, buddy?”
The Toa of Water noticed Lhikan watching her and smiled before walking over. “Hey, how’s it going?” she asked.
Nidhiki noticed Lhikan staring as well and elbowed him in the side. “Well answer her, idiot.”
The Toa of Fire quickly recovered. “Uh, fine. How are you?”
“Pretty good. I’ve been watching this regatta of yours here, it’s pretty impressive I have to say. You Metru Nuians know how to put on a show.”
“Actually I’m from Rehi Nui,” said Nidhiki. He pointed his thumb at Lhikan. “And he’s from Taminu Nui but he’s too love-struck to mention that.”
“Knock it off,” Lhikan warned darkly.
“Well I was born and raised on Metru Nui,” said Malohi. “Although I don’t remember any of it.”
“Well I’m from the southern continent,” replied the Toa of Water. “I had heard that Metru Nui was occupied again so I decided to come and see for myself. Oh, my name’s Reymar by the way.”
“Lhikan, former leader of the Toa Mangai,” said the Toa of Fire. “Although you probably haven’t heard of us.”
“Nope, sorry, can’t say I have.”
“That’s probably for the best,” said Nidhiki. “I’m Nidhiki.”
“I’m Vamkoda, and this is Malohi,” said Vamkoda.
“Yo,” said Malohi, raising his hand in greeting.
“So you’re enjoying your stay in the City of Legends so far?” said Lhikan.
“I am, it’s quite a step up from the small villages I was used to on the southern continent.”
“Maybe afterward you’d like to see more of the city, I could be your guide,” offered Lhikan.
“That would be lovely, thank you, Lhikan.”
Vamkoda looked up at Nidhiki who rolled his eyes and looked back out at the sea. Everyone was so caught up in the event that no one noticed a slapped together sailboat had entered the fray until it almost collided with a Ga-Matoran boat. The sailor shouted an angry rebuke at the rogue vessel as it moved closer to the docks and more people began to notice it. “What is that?” asked Nidhiki.
“A cobbled together craft if I’ve ever seen one,” said Reymar.
Nokama pointed out to the boat. “It looks like it’s been damaged, it’s sinking! Gali, go and help them.”
“At once, Turaga!” said Gali before she dove into the water. Other boats began moving in to help try to rescue any passengers. Lhikan was wondering if anyone was even onboard when a Ko-Matoran appeared above deck. Even at this distance, the Toa of Fire could tell there was something strange looking about the Matoran.
Gali reached the boat and began guiding it toward the shore as some of the crew of the vessel evacuated to the other boats. By the time they reached the docks, only an Onu-Matoran was left on board. Spectators helped him onto the dock as Gali climbed out of the water, leaving the boat to its fate. The Onu-Matoran glanced back at the now rapidly sinking vessel. “Thank you, you served us well,” he said to it.
Vamkoda and the others made their way through the crowd even as the other boats were delivering the other crewmembers to the docks. There were six Matoran total, one of each primary element. All of them were smaller than normal Matoran and looked like they had been disfigured in some way. It reminded Vamkoda of the Matoran’s rebuilding on the island of Mata Nui but in a sick, twisted way.
“Who are you?” Nokama asked as she reached the group of Matoran with Gaaki.
The Onu-Matoran turned to face her. “My name is Garan. Sorry about our crude entrance, we aren’t typically a seafaring people but our situation has become very desperate. We are from the island of Voya Nui.”
“Voya Nui?” said Reymar.
“You’ve heard of it?” asked Nidhiki.
“It was a village that lay at the center of my continent until the Great Cataclysm when it and the landmass around it were jettisoned through the dome.”
“That sounds improbable,” said Nidhiki.
“Well you should believe it, a giant waterfall is currently falling through the hole in the dome and into a cavern below. I just never imagined anyone could have survived the ascent, or that there was anything above for them to exist on.”
“There’s an entire ocean above although we never explored it,” said Vamkoda. “Takua was talking about setting out on a voyage shortly before the discovery of the Mask of Light.”
“We have come seeking aid for our island,” Garan continued. “The situation has become very bleak back home.” Garan relayed his story of Voya Nui’s ascent, including the deaths of many Matoran and their Turaga. After a thousand years of carving out a miserable existence, including the sinking of an entire village three centuries ago, some debris that showed the location of another island in relation to the stars floated into their bay. Inspired to find help, the Matoran spent the next few years building test craft until finally Garan and his friends decided they couldn’t waste any more time and set sail.
“And then we found an island but it seemed to be abandoned,” said the Ta-Matoran, Balta. “So after some scouting, we found some tunnels that showed recent use and found a subterranean sea. We carried the boat down to the tunnels and set sail. However, it seems we took some damage on the way.”
“Well I’m glad you made it here safely,” said Nokama. “Let’s get you to the Coliseum, we can tell the other Turaga and then we can decide our next move.”
The Turaga and Rahaga all listened intently to the Matoran’s story in Dume’s personal chamber, and once they were finished, Dume stood up. “I commend your bravery in venturing out to seek help. I know the voyage must have been very trying. But all the same, we cannot spare any aid to your island. Metru Nui is still in very bad shape and after the further damage to the Coliseum we suffered this past Olva, we’re even further behind in repairs. I’m sorry.”
“I understand your position, Turaga, I truly do,” said Garan, “but if I may, you are at least connected to other islands, so you and the others create a net to support each other. We are completely cut off from the rest of the universe. Water is running dangerously low, we will be completely dry by the end of the year. Please, Turaga, I beg you to reconsider.” Garan and the other five Matoran with him all fell to their knees and bowed their heads in respect.
“Dume, we have to do something to help them,” said Nokama. “They wouldn’t come to us unless the situation was so dire.”
“Yes, Nokama, but so is ours, and we have more Matoran to worry about. We just can’t spare the resources. You can’t save a drowning Matoran at the risk of your own life. All you end up with is two drowned Matoran.”
“Please, Turaga,” said the Ga-Matoran in the group, Dalu. She looked up at Dume with pleading eyes. “There must be something we can do in return, just name your price.”
“Whatever it is, we’ll pay it,” said Piruk, the Le-Matoran. “Our friends are worth anything.”
Dume sighed heavily. “All right, but some of your numbers would need to come and work here to help generate the additional resources, at least until Metru Nui is fully repaired.”
Garan smiled and bowed his head again. “All we want is a chance, Turaga. The six of us will gladly stay and do whatever work you require of us, and I’m sure others from our island would do the same.”
Vakama stood up and clapped his hands together. “Excellent, then it is decided. The Matoran of Voya Nui will help us to produce more resources, and in return, we will send them supplies. Is there anything else that needs to be addressed while we’re here?”
The Ko-Matoran, Kazi, raised his hand. “Yeah, I have a question. Who are those Matoran causing a ruckus outside?”
Ahkmou stood behind a makeshift podium as he faced a riled-up crowd holding various signs of protest. He smiled internally as he surveyed the beautiful scene he had helped create. The Turaga were beside themselves with worry and the Toa were not much better over Ahkmou’s machinations. After all his schemes of trying to undermine the Turaga’s leadership over the years, all it took to do it was some time anomaly. And Ahkmou was going to get to the bottom of what caused that anomaly but in the end, it didn’t really matter. He was going to spin it however it best suited him.
“Brothers and sisters!” Ahkmou announced loudly. “Eight months ago, we were attacked by a savage monster, drawn here by a time distortion surrounding the Resurrected. And while I have my sources looking into what caused that, what is not disputed is the Resurrected’s part in all this. The temporal anomaly surrounds them and drew Voporak to our shores!”
The crowd erupted into cheers of agreement. Ahkmou smiled internally again. Sure he was exaggerating about the Resurrected’s actual involvement. There was no evidence that the temporal anomaly surrounded the Resurrected but that didn’t matter to him. Everyone needed a target to take out their aggression on.
Ahkmou held up a hand for silence. “That is why I have been petitioning the Turaga for months, pleading with them, that they send the Resurrected away. I’m sure there’s a peaceful island they can live on out there, away from all of us. But my words have fallen on deaf ears.” A chorus of boos from the audience. “It seems they care more about a couple of hundred freaks of nature than thousands of natural Matoran. Does that seem fair or right to any of you?” The crowd replied in the negative. “And now, as I speak to you here, there are newcomers from Mata Nui knows where talking to the Turaga about getting resources from us when we can barely take care of ourselves.”
“How do you know all this?” asked a Ta-Matoran in wonder.
“I have eyes and ears everywhere,” said Ahkmou with a sly smile. “There is nowhere on the island that escapes my awareness.”
“Okay, okay, show’s over,” said Jaller as he pushed his way through the crowd, flanked by Ta-Metru guards. “You’ve said your piece, Ahkmou, now move along.”
“I’ll have you know, Captain, that I have a permit to be here.”
“One that expired weeks ago I’m sure. But if you want to play that game, let me see it.” When Ahkmou didn’t make a move, Jaller added, “That’s what I thought. Now get out of here.”
“People have a right to know what’s going on here,” protested Ahkmou.
“The Turaga have told us what happened.”
“And the Turaga have always been so truthful with us in the past,” said Ahkmou with dripping sarcasm.
Jaller tried to hide his uncertainty. “They have told us what we need to know. If there’s more, they will tell us that when we need to know it.”
“So naïve, Jaller. But then again, Vakama needs a good puppet to help with his control of the idiotic masses.”
Jaller stepped right up to Ahkmou, shoving his mask into the Po-Matoran’s. “Let’s make sure something is understood, rock head. I never liked you. Even before we knew you were allied with Makuta. You always preyed on Matoran’s superstitions and fears, with no regard for the damage you were causing to our fragile communities. And once it was revealed where your real loyalties lay, I would have much preferred you be taken out back and dealt with like the common Rahi you are.”
Ahkmou gave a confident smirk. “Careful, Captain, the others will see you for the hotheaded tyrant that you truly are.”
Jaller became aware of the others watching him and straightened up. He pointed out into the city. “Get lost, Ahkmou. Go peddle your conspiracy theories elsewhere.”
Ahkmou noticed Lhikan talking to a Toa of Water near the Coliseum before the new Matoran came walking out. After a brief discussion, Lhikan led the Toa of Water off in the direction of Ta-Metru. “Very well, Captain. You win today. I have other places to be anyway.”
Lhikan and Reymar walked through the streets of Ta-Metru, the former pointing out different places of interest to the latter. The two talked about Metru Nui, their homelands, their adventures, and everything else under the suns until they set, and even afterward. Even when it began to rain, the two Toa didn’t mind. They still talked as they snaked their way to the edge of the metru. Lhikan couldn’t help smiling as Reymar recalled a story where she defeated three Rahkshi while the rest of her team were incapacitated by the dark creatures’ abilities. He felt very different around this Toa than anyone else he had ever been around. He had seen Naho and Tuyet in purely sisterly terms, and of course, he didn’t even feel that for Tuyet anymore. No, this felt like it could be something more. Lhikan was so enraptured in his thoughts that he was completely oblivious to the trap they were walking into.
The Toa of Fire heard the scrape of metal against stone and instantly froze. That was no Rahi, that was a being with intent, one trying to be quiet. He held out his hand to stop Reymar and put a finger to his mouth. “What is it?” she asked, now on the alert as well.
“We are not alone.” Lhikan was now aware of sounds all around them. He scanned his eyes in all directions, thinking he caught movements in the shadows. But the rain and lack of light made it almost impossible to see. He cursed himself for not paying better attention and walking into a section of the city still under reconstruction where no Matoran or lights were. “Get ready,” he said.
Lhikan could now see shapes moving in the shadows. He created two columns of fire in his hands and the glow revealed dozens of Matoran with various weapons surrounding them. The orange light distorted the wolfish and hungry expressions on the Matoran’s masks into even more grotesque versions of themselves. Ahkmou seemed to be leading them, holding a club threateningly. “Ahkmou, what is the meaning of this?” Lhikan demanded.
“Nothing personal, Lhikan, just trying to protect our island.”
“Yeah, like you care about the wellbeing of Metru Nui. And attacking me is supposed to do that?”
“You Resurrected are more trouble than you’re worth. You drain our resources and draw threats to Metru Nui.”
“My only intention is to protect the heart of Metru Nui as I have done since I first set foot on these shores. But if this is truly the will of the Matoran, I will leave without a fight.”
“But, Lhikan, this is your home!” said Reymar. “How could you just leave?”
“I didn’t say I would be happy, it would be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But I’ve already given my life for the city I love, so this seems like a small sacrifice in comparison.”
The crowd’s resolve suddenly wavered. Obviously, they had been led to believe that Lhikan was a dangerous and unreasonable character. Ahkmou looked nervous, like he was going to lose his grip on his lynch gang. “You can’t believe him, he’s a liar!” said the Po-Matoran. “I mean, how do we even know this is really Lhikan? He could just be some monster using him as a disguise. We don’t know what these Resurrected are!”
Fear of the unknown took over once again and the angry mob started to advance. Reymar pulled out two scimitars and looked around at the threatening faces surrounding the two Toa. “What’s the plan, Lhikan? They have us boxed in here.”
Lhikan threw out a spread of fireballs around himself and Reymar. It made the Matoran jump back but the flames were nowhere near touching them. It was meant to keep the villagers back, not hurt them. Lhikan had no interest in hurting those he was sworn to protect, even if the feeling was not mutual. He took his greatswords off his back and combined them into his flying board. He threw it on the ground and stepped on board as he wrapped his arm around Reymar’s waist. “Hang on,” he said as he mentally triggered the board and took off into the night sky.
But Ahkmou wasn’t going to be so easily outmaneuvered. “ Freeze disks, now! Shoot him out of the sky!” The mob took aim with disk launchers and fired.
Lhikan saw the incoming projectiles and began jerking left and right, trying to dodge them. He looked back and activated his Hau, but it was hard to spot all the disks in the darkness and continue flying forward at the same time. One got through and struck his feet, freezing them to the board. The shock made him lose concentration over his mask and the sudden weight made him lose balance. More disks struck, weighing the board down and sending the two Toa plummeting to the ground.
The Toa Mangai of Fire tried to drop Reymar off before she wound up entangled in the inevitable crash. She dropped from the board and hit the ground, still getting stunned from the impact. Lhikan didn’t have any time to try to save himself and slammed into the ground at a high rate of speed. The impact broke one of his legs free of the ice but the other one stayed stuck as he rolled across the ground, board and all. Lhikan shook his head to clear it and rolled over before immediately starting to thaw out the ice. It must have been a pretty high-level disk that hit him as his fire was hardly having any effect.
Lhikan looked up to see Reymar stirring before a dozen Matoran jumped on her, pinning her to the ground. “Hey, leave her alone!” he barked. “She has nothing to do with this!”
“Don’t worry, Lhikan, we’re not going to hurt her,” said Ahkmou. “We’re just making sure she doesn’t interfere.” The Po-Matoran nodded to some others who moved in with their clubs.
Lhikan threw up his shield as the Matoran brought down their weapons, causing them to ricochet off. The Toa was unharmed but he was also at a stalemate with the Matoran. Their attacks were so constant that if he were to drop his shield, he would immediately beset upon by their weapons. Unfortunately, the choice was soon taken from Lhikan’s hands.
A Matoran came up behind the Toa of Fire and smashed Lhikan’s mask off his face. He watched helplessly as it skidded across the ground. Then the mob began to hammer away at him with their clubs.
Reymar was conscious again and struggled under the Matoran’s weight. “You have to fight back, Lhikan!” she cried. “They’ll kill you if you don’t!” She glanced and saw her scimitars were out of reach, meaning her elemental powers would be limited. She was able to twist her hand out and hit a Matoran in the face with a stream of water. The Matoran stumbled backward as he tried to get out of the jet. As he fell to the ground, three more Matoran jumped and took his place, forcing Reymar even lower into the ground.
Meanwhile the Matoran clubbing Lhikan began to tire and slowed down drastically. This allowed the Toa to climb laboriously to his feet, stumbling a little once he did so. His armor looked like it had been through Karzahni and back with all the dents and marks on it. “I never asked to come back,” he said distantly, sounding like he was thinking out loud. The Matoran paused in their attack. “When I closed my eyes on the Great Barrier over a thousand years ago, I thought it would be for the last time. And I was at peace with that. I gave my life protecting the future and I would do it all over again if I had to. But I figured if I came back, it must be for a reason. And I’m determined to live my life to the fullest and protect those I care about.” Lhikan looked at Ahkmou. “I intend to help those I let down: Nidhiki, my nephews, and anyone else. And you won’t stop me, Ahkmou.”
The Po-Matoran looked thoroughly bored. “That was a great speech, Lhikan,” he said patronizingly. “String him up!”
A Matoran jumped up behind Lhikan and wrapped a cable around his neck. Lhikan’s hands instinctively shot to his neck to try to free himself from the makeshift noose. The Matoran yanked the cable backward and pulled Lhikan off his feet. Other Matoran joined the first in hauling Lhikan toward a broken wall two and a half bio tall.
Ahkmou looked around. “Make this quick, the Guard could be here any minute.”
“No!” Reymar cried as she struggled as hard as she could. She shot streams of water from her hands. But without her tools, the blasts were hardly enough to get the Matoran wet at this range.
The Matoran threw the cable over the wall and quickly began pulling it back, lifting Lhikan off the ground. He struggled to keep his neck off the cable as he swung his legs frantically. He tried to brace his feet against the wall to attempt to relieve the pressure but they kept slipping against the rain-slicked solid protodermis. The cable ground a rut into the rock under Lhikan’s weight.
“Stop it!” Reymar shouted. “You’re killing him!”
“That’s the idea,” replied Ahkmou emotionlessly.
“You’ll never get away with it!” said Reymar. “I’ll tell the Turaga what you did!”
Ahkmou sighed. “I suppose you will, won’t you?” He took an axe off his back and held it over the Toa of Water’s neck. “Now no one will know.” He brought the axe up only to have it knocked from his hand by a Kanoka disk. “What the—?”
“Go, go, go!” shouted Jaller as he led the Ta-Metru Guard into the fray. They were outfitted in riot gear: heavy armor with shields and batons. They began to batter their way through the crowd, beating back Ahkmou’s fanatic followers.
The Po-Matoran growled in anger. “They always ruin everything!”
Jaller kicked a Matoran back into another before blocking a strike from his left. His eye caught the shine of gold in the low light and saw Lhikan struggling against the noose. “Nuhrii, save Lhikan!”
“On it!” said the Ta-Matoran. He took a knee and aimed his disk launcher at the Matoran pulling on the cable. Just as he fired, Ahkmou knocked him off target, sending the Kanoka flying off into the night.
“Not so fast, fire-spitter,” said Ahkmou. The Po-Matoran punched Nuhrii in the face, sending him to the ground. As Ahkmou moved in, Nuhrii brought his feet up and kicked the rogue Matoran backward. Ahkmou stumbled back, the wind knocked out of him. Nuhrii leaped to his feet and pummeled Ahkmou relentlessly, not letting up for a second. After what felt like an eternity and a half, Ahkmou finally fell over, defeated.
Nuhrii grabbed his launcher again and loaded a new disk. He aimed at the cable and fired. The Kanoka struck true, activating its power and enlarging the cable by many sizes, causing Lhikan to easily slip out and land on his back. He coughed and choked as he was able to breathe freely again.
The battle between the Ta-Metru Guard and mob continued on, with the Guard slowly but surely gaining ground.
White armored feet pounded the pavement as their owner ran through the downpour toward the small fires and sounds of battle. Takanuva had heard from Vamkoda that the Ta-Metru Guard had been mobilized in riot gear and set out for the northern edge of the metru after receiving reports of prowlers in the area. Jaller must have suspected something pretty serious to deploy the Guard in riot gear.
Takanuva suspected something serious as well. Ahkmou had been more and more radical in his speech and actions as of late. Takanuva had always hoped that Ahkmou had just been led astray by Makuta, deceived by his lies. He hoped he would see the light. But when Vakama’s stories revealed that he had always had a penchant for betrayal, he knew that was an unlikely outcome. As much as he hated to admit it, Ahkmou may have been lost to the darkness for millennia, and there was no chance he would come back.
The Toa of Light put two and two together. Ahkmou was leading a group of Matoran that distrusted the Resurrected, and they were growing in size and fanaticism. Lhikan had been giving the new arrival, Reymar, a tour of Ta-Metru. They hadn’t been seen recently so they were unaccounted for. The only thing Takanuva wasn’t positive of was if Ahkmou would be bold enough to attack two Toa.
Yeah, he would, Takanuva thought grimly. He wasn’t sure of Ahkmou’s exact motivations or goals, but his conviction was unquestionable. If he tried to murder a Toa in cold blood… that would be a new low for the population. There had never been any real attempts at murder in the thousand years on Mata Nui. Karzahni, they had never even deployed the guards in riot gear, only practicing with it as a means of being prepared for any outcome. To think it was actually being deployed against their Matoran brethren…
Takanuva ran a little faster. This was becoming too much to bear. The only reason the Resurrected were even here was because Takanuva had messed with the Mask of Time, accidentally creating the hole in time that tore so many beings forward. Only a handful of people knew the truth, although occasionally Takanuva wished everyone did. He scrambled up some broken structures until he was on top of a roof and could see the Ta-Metru Guard smashing through the mob. Kalama and Kapura were currently battering the Matoran off of Reymar. Takanuva blinked away the tears that formed in his eyes. He had to act now.
“Stop!” he cried as he sent out a brilliant burst of light that made the entire area look like it was the middle of the day. All of the combatants stopped to look at the Toa of Light. Unseen by everyone, Ahkmou used that time to sneak away. As the elemental light dissipated and darkness once more took over, Takanuva leaped down from the rooftop. “What are we doing?” he asked as he walked over to the crowd of Matoran. “We’re brothers and sisters for crying out loud! I know some of you are new here, but some of you were on the same island as the rest of us for a millennium. We’ve been with each other for as long as we can remember. And we’re going to let something like this tear us apart?
“Lhikan and the other Resurrected are the same people that they were when they died. They are not any kind of scary monsters posing as old friends. They were just plucked out of time. I should know…” Takanuva had to stop himself from revealing the truth. “…because I have a personal connection to one of them. Takua is me, there’s no doubt about it. We have all the same memories up to his ‘resurrection.’ There’s no way that could be faked. Which means you’re trying to kill the Toa responsible for why we are all here and not the Makuta’s slaves right now. Now I suggest you put down your weapons before you do something you can’t take back.”
One by one, the mob threw down their weapons and put their hands on their heads, submitting to the Ta-Metru Guard. The guards were quick to arrest them before any changed their minds. Jaller elbowed Takanuva in the side. “Thanks, buddy. You were able to defuse the situation.”
“No problem, I’m just glad I was able to.”
Nuhrii recovered Lhikan’s mask and gave it back to its owner. “Careful, Toa Lhikan,” he said as he helped the Toa Mangai sit up. “You could be pretty hurt.”
“I’m fine,” he wheezed.
“Are you sure?” Reymar asked.
“Yeah.” Lhikan slowly climbed to his feet with the help of Takanuva and Reymar. “If it’s okay with you guys, can I go home now? I need to be alone.”
“Of course, Toa Lhikan,” said Jaller. “Do you want an escort?”
“No, I’ll be fine.” Lhikan limped away from the crowd, looking as if he was carrying the weight of Metru Nui on his back. Takanuva had never seen him so down and dejected.
“Is it smart to let him go alone?” asked Kalama.
“Probably not, but I think he’ll be fine,” said Jaller. “I don’t think anyone will attack him again tonight. He needs this right now, to be away from the rest of us. He’s hurt bad and needs time to heal.”
“But I thought he said he wasn’t hurt,” said Nuhrii.
“He’s not hurt physically, Nuhrii,” said Jaller. “At least not that badly. It’s much worse than that.” Nuhrii nodded sadly and watched Lhikan walk off into the night. “And unfortunately,” continued the Captain of the Guard, “I don’t think this is the end of it. I think this tension is going to keep rising until it reaches the breaking point.”
“And then what?” asked Kapura nervously.
“I hate to think of it,” Jaller replied.
Takanuva lightly punched the wall where Lhikan had just been hanging. He couldn’t help feeling responsible and was determined to do something about it. Change was coming to Metru Nui and it wasn’t good. Maybe we need to make a change of our own, thought Takanuva as he looked out toward the sea. Maybe we need to change the game board.