“Okay, so here’s how it’s gonna go,” Tykal explained as he and Scorzen followed the border path to the nearest tree with Madumei access. “I don’t want people to know that I’ve got this thing until I can get my idea on how to use it out there, so we can’t let her know that we have it. Just ask her about what exactly she’s looking for, and maybe if she knows whether anyone else has one already.”
“What if she wants to know why we’re asking?” Scorzen pointed out.
“Eh, no particular reason.”
“I don’t think Fe- and De-Matoran just go to the Madumei for no reason…”
“Okay then, maybe we’re asking for someone else, or maybe we’ve heard of something like it being found… no, then we’d have to point her somewhere. Ah-ha! We’ll say we’ve lost something like it!”
“That would mean that you had it. Isn’t that what you don’t want people to know?”
“Okay, fine. You come up with an excuse, then.” Having reached the base of one of the giant trees, Tykal started making his way around it, looking for a ladder.
“What if I just say I’m interested in looking for it too, but need to know what exactly it is?” Scorzen suggested. “I mean, I hear lots of rumors in the market. I might be able to look for it that way.”
“You’re a De-Matoran,” Tykal mumbled under his breath. “You hear everything.”
“I do,” Scorzen said quickly as if to underscore the statement. “That’s how I could help. I mean, why would she be asking if people’d seen one of these things if she didn’t want help looking for one?”
“Checking the field, probably for the station mechanic,” Tykal answered dryly. “Ah, over here.” He spotted and made his way quickly to the rope ladder hanging from the east side of the tree.
“I think she was the mechanic… Maybe she just had one and lost it?”
“That could be… still, that means there’s another one out there.” Tykal started the climb.
“Well, what if she accidentally dropped it and it ended up in that scrap pile where you found it?”
Tykal stopped. “You know, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s how it got there. I doubt any Ta-Matoran would’ve thrown it out, but a Le-Matoran losing it? I could see that.”
“We should probably give it back, then…”
“Finders keepers,” Tykal declared as he proceeded to climb the ladder in vigorous fashion.
It was a long climb, and neither of them spent their breath on continuing the conversation until they reached the platform not far below the canopy. Tykal kept up the brisk pace all the way, leaving Scorzen well behind. He surveyed the platform while waiting for his friend. It was a small one, linked to three others by rope bridges that swayed visibly in the wind. Two woven branch huts with roofs made from large leaves were suspended by vines from the branches above. It was still quiet.
“Which way?” Tykal asked when Scorzen appeared at last.
“I’m not sure…” Scorzen scanned the canopy in sight for any sign of the station.
“Someone should get the Le-Matoran to put up signposts,” Tykal suggested. “How do they find anything up here?”
“I think I see it.” Scorzen pointed along the north-eastern bridge, much to his dismay also the longest one linked to the platform. “Just around that branch.”
Now Tykal spotted it too and immediately headed in that direction, taking to the bridge without second thought. Scorzen followed with considerable trepidation. As they made their way along the bridge, the station loomed ever clearer ahead, its three levels setting it well apart from the smaller platforms scattered throughout the rest of the canopy. Above the entrance, a sign identified it as the west Tahai station.
“Morning!” Tykal loudly exclaimed as he marched into the station’s top level through the open door.
“Eh, good morning,” came the surprised reply from a stocky Le-Matoran behind a desk. He quickly recovered himself. “What can I do for you?”
“My friend here has a question for you.” Tykal stepped aside and motioned for Scorzen to step forward.
He did just that as the Matoran behind the desk turned his stern gaze on him. “Hi… uhm, I’m looking for Telzin?”
“Telzin?” Again, the desk pilot betrayed some surprise. “She’s not in at this hour. Never is.”
“Ah, okay…” Scorzen slunk back a bit.
“Do you want her to send something from here? If so, I can help.”
“No, it’s just, eh, about something she asked me yesterday.”
“I can tell her you dropped by,” the Le-Matoran offered as he pulled up a piece of parchment and a quill. “Names?”
“Tykal, Scorzen,” Tykal answered quickly.
“Very well, I’ll let her know,” the Le-Matoran gave a nod as he noted the names on the parchment. “From my experience, she’ll be in by noon at the latest.”
“Thank you.” Tykal gave a quick nod and headed out the door, followed closely by Scorzen. He stopped at the entrance to the bridge. “Well, that’s not much help.”
“It is early…” Scorzen pointed out.
“Yeah, yeah… well, so much for the Madumei.”
“Back home, then?” Scorzen gestured to the station. “There’s a ladder in there.”
“I suppose…” Tykal started that way, then suddenly stopped again. “Actually, while we’re here, we could ask the Turaga.”
“No, Turaga Duzan,” Tykal said sarcastically. “Of course, Florei. His place is somewhere up here, right? Might as well see if he’s around so we didn’t make the climb for nothing.”
“But he’s the Turaga of the Bo- and Le-Matoran…”
“You’d rather visit Duzan, then?”
“No,” Scorzen quickly answered. He was well aware of the Onu-Matoran Turaga’s formidable reputation.
“Alright then.” Tykal walked back to the entrance of the station and called inside: “hey, where’s the Turaga’s place?”
“South-west, four platforms over,” the Le-Matoran responded. Tykal gave him a nod and marched back to and onto the bridge.
Scorzen followed hesitantly, dismayed that he hadn’t seen the last of the bridges yet. “What are you going to ask him?”
“Whether he’s heard of anything that glows when a Matoran touches it. If there’s more of them out there, you bet he’ll have heard through one of the parties that they’ve always got up here.”
“I’ve never seen him at the parties…”
“Well, he’s a Turaga. He should know what’s going on one way or the other. I’d be surprised if Duzan doesn’t know about what we’ve got already. He’s got eyes and ears all over… I wouldn’t have brought it with me if he didn’t.” Tykal glanced over his shoulder at his backpack. Scorzen thought to point out that Tykal’s paranoia of the Earth Turaga was getting to him but decided against it.
A short walk later, they found themselves in front of Turaga Florei’s hut. Occupying the better part of a large platform on the western tip of the Madumei, it was a three-level structure made in much the same way as the other huts they’d come by, though larger and composed of several distinct ‘units’ that were woven into each other. The door was open.
“Greetings!” Tykal once again announced their arrival loudly. Entering into the hut, they found themselves in a small welcome room. A desk, topped with a variety of scattered papers, almost divided the space in two. Seated behind it was another Le-Matoran, who was clearly surprised by their sudden appearance.
“Welcome. I’m Toku. Can I help you?”
“Tykal, Scorzen,” Tykal gestured to himself and his friend, “and we’d like to see the Turaga. Is he busy?”
“I’ll check. Wait here.” Toku got up and left the room through a doorway leading deeper into the structure.
“That was easy…” Scorzen quietly remarked.
“He’s a Turaga,” Tykal explained in a low tone. “He’s not going to turn us away just because we’re not of his tribes. Besides, I’m pretty sure Florei doesn’t keep a busy schedule. I mean, do you ever hear about the guy doing much?”
“Fair.” Scorzen nodded. From what he’d picked up, Florei’s name wasn’t often mentioned outside of Bo-Matoran circles.
Before long, Toku reappeared. “The Turaga has some time. If you’d like to follow me…” with that, she turned right and headed down a short, curved hallway, followed closely by the visitors. “In here.” She motioned them into a large, vaguely semicircular room. A large desk with chairs scattered in front of it took up center stage, cabinets lined the interior wall, and wide balcony allowed in plenty of light to help two small lightstones illuminate the space. On one side of the balcony a sizeable cage was home to several small, colorful bird rahi. Standing next to it was Turaga Florei, looking little different from any other Bo-Matoran absent his stole and badge of office, both of which were lying on the desk.
“Welcome,” he greeted warmly as they entered. He took a few steps inside, stopping short of the desk. “What brings a Fe- and De-Matoran to my office?”
“Tykal,” Tykal gestured to himself as he stepped forward, then pointed to Scorzen. “My friend here, Scorzen, recently heard a rumor that someone found a weird stick that glows when Matoran touch it. Now, as an inventor…” he stopped when he saw the Turaga’s surprised reaction to his mention of this ‘rumor.’
Florei took a moment to recover himself. “Do go on,” he invited.
“Okay, as an inventor, such a device is very much of interest to me. So, I’ve come to ask if you’ve heard of these glowing sticks and where they might have been found.”
“Glowing sticks?” Florei slowly nodded. “That sounds like something you would’ve brought up from the mines.”
“I don’t work there,” Tykal quickly pointed out. “Not anymore.”
“Obviously…” Florei scanned Tykal’s squat frame up and down before taking a seat behind his desk. “Still, this sounds like something you should ask Turaga Duzan about. He keeps tabs on the mines.”
“Oh, I know, but I happened to be in the area and figured I’d ask you,” Tykal explained with a slight edge to his voice.
“That he is…” Florei nodded again, then looked to Scorzen. “Where’d you hear about this glowing stick?”
“Uhm, the market,” Scorzen answered shakily.
“The market… and did you hear where it was found?”
Florei leant back in his chair and looked back and forth between his visitors. Any surprise in his face was gone now, replaced by a more detached expression that hid whatever he was really thinking. Tykal folded his arms and matched the poker face with his own while Scorzen stood by awkwardly. The Turaga broke the silence: “Which one of you found it?”
“Which one of us?” Tykal’s poker face was instantly replaced with a shocked expression. He quickly glanced to Scorzen, who echoed the look. “We didn’t…”
“It’s in your backpack.”
Tykal was about to protest but paused and then thought the better of it. With a tacit nod, he confirmed the Turaga’s assertion.
“May I see it?” Florei reached a hand across the desk.
Tykal considered for a moment, but then took off the backpack, opened it up, and reached inside. A flash of bright orange light heralded the appearance of the rod, which he set on the desk. “There,” he said coldly.
Florei looked at the rod intently, placing his finger on it. It lit up with a warm, green glow. He nodded approvingly.
“How did you know?” Tykal demanded.
“You’re in my office, not Duzan’s,” Florei said calmly.
“Maybe I don’t much like Duzan.”
“Clearly.” Florei slowly moved the rod with small taps of his fingers, letting its glow decay between each one.
Tykal sighed. “Fine. What is it?”
Florei turned it one last time. “It’s a Toa stone.”
“A Toa stone, and it’s very important.”
“Important how?” Tykal stepped forward to pick the rod off the table but hesitated when Florei put his finger on it again and held it there.
“It’s a sign of destiny… and a bad omen.”
“Yes. It means there’s trouble ahead. It also means that you will be one of those who will save us from it.”
Tykal’s eyes widened in amazement. He looked back to a worried Scorzen, then to the Turaga again. “Save us from what?”
“I can’t say, but Toa stones don’t show up for nothing.”
Tykal took a moment to absorb it all. Did this mean he was going to be at the center of something important, something groundbreaking at last?
“Where’d it come from?” Scorzen asked.
“I… I’m not sure,” Florei admitted. “I didn’t… expect to ever see one.” He turned back to Tykal. “But now that it’s here, there’s a something I need you to do with it.”
“What is it?” Tykal asked eagerly.
“You need to take it to Kini-Koro.”
“The Toa Stone needs to be brought to the temple,” Florei explained. “That’s where it will do its work. You are its bearer now, so you need to get it there.”
“That’s, what, two days’ travel?” Tykal asked Scorzen.
“Seven on foot,” the latter answered.
“Seven!? Hmm… by cart?”
“Four days, I can do that…” Tykal nodded, then suddenly stopped. “Wait, I’ve got an order I need to work on before then, ■■■■ it.”
“What kind of order?” Florei asked.
“Farming tools for your Bo-Matoran.”
“I am their Turaga. I can make sure they get their tools,” Florei offered. “Right now, it is imperative that you get this to the temple. This stone means business.”
“Okay!” Tykal snatched the stone off the desk and stuck it in his backpack. “Scorzen, you ready for a trip?”
“Uhm, I was going to work the market…” Scorzen objected but got no further.
“That can wait,” Tykal declared. “Do you have any gigs lined up?”
“Then come with! You heard him, this is important!”
“I’m not sure I can just… leave like that.”
“Oh come on…” Tykal pulled the rod out of his backpack again. “This thing here, this is a sign of destiny. Something important is about to happen, and you can be there for it!.. Besides, it’ll get you away from the noise of Gol-Rui for a while.”
“That would be nice…” Scorzen tacitly agreed.
Tykal turned back to the Turaga, who’d gotten up from behind his desk. “We’ll be on our way as soon as we can.”
“Very good,” Florei smiled. “I will send word to Turaga Elya that you’re on your way. Check in with her when you get to Kini-Koro.”
“Will do,” Tykal gave a nod as he started for the door.
“And one more thing…” Florei said, stopping Tykal in his tracks. “Remember, this isn’t just about destiny. It’s a bad omen, but we have no idea what it’s warning us about or when it’ll show up. I’ll work with the other Turaga to figure it out, but until then, please don’t tell anyone about this. Things are… tense as is, and I know my fellow Turaga would not be happy about people losing their heads over bad omens.”
“Mouths are shut,” Tykal said as he made a closing zipper motion over his.
Florei looked up to Scorzen, who gave a quick nod indicating he understood. “Fair travels, then.”
“Right. Thank you!” With that, Tykal was out the door, with Scorzen following right behind.
Florei waited for them to clear earshot before moving back to his desk and dropping into the chair with a big sigh.
Toku appeared in the doorway. “Everything alright, Turaga?”
“I think so…”
“What did they want?”
Florei sighed. “They found one.”
Toku gasped. “Where at?”
“Great Spirit… did you send them to Galesh?”
“No…” Florei answered as he pulled a sheet of parchment from under the desk. “I just sent them straight to Kini-Koro. Best to… get them out of here fast.”
“Of course. Do you want me to send a message to Elya?”
“No, I’ll do it.” Florei picked up a quill and dipped it in a small jar of ink in the corner of the desk. “You let Galesh know.”
“Will do.” Toku paused a moment as Florei mulled over how to start the message. “Do you think the Fe-Matoran will tell Duzan?” she asked.
“I don’t think so. He doesn’t seem to like him much.”
“Yeah, I could see why…” Toku hesitated to say more. Florei nodded discretely. “I’ll get word to the Galesh.” With that, Toku departed.
Florei turned his attention back to the letter, nearly starting it several times only to think the better of what he was about to write. Eventually, he just settled on jotting down a quick summary.
I-Tahai-a Tykal-fe paki-Toa elya-pa-fa. Ou-ai vya-pa. Konu-o ha.
Satisfied, he tore off the piece of parchment he’d written on, rolled it up, and placed it into a small metal capsule. He picked a red bird out of the cage on the balcony and tied the capsule to one of its feet. “Hurry, little bird,” he whispered as he released it. It took off immediately, wasting no time to gain altitude and start heading south. Praying that it would reach its destination safely, Florei watched until it disappeared through a gap in the canopy.
Telzin took a deep breath before finally resigning herself to the fact that it was morning. Light was streaming in through entryway of her hut, little more than a small woven nest at the top of the canopy with a broad-leaf roof. No point trying to shut down now. “Fine…” she mumbled as she got up from the mattress. Outside, she could see that the sun had cleared the eastern horizon, but not by much. She tried a series of stretches to get rid of some of the rickety feeling that came with going near-sleepless for a second night in a row, but it didn’t help much. Neither did breakfast, dry leftovers of a meager dinner that the small icebox had failed to keep cool because she never bothered to actually put ice in it. She considered cooking up something better, but the firepan had sat unused for lack of fuel for a while now. Beyond that, the only thing the hut had to offer was a view of the canopy all around. Having spent a minute or two admiring it, Telzin picked up her backpack, took a quick glance at the carving of a kanohi-mask nailed to one of the roof supports, and headed down-tree.
Lithely she climbed, leapt, and swung her way down through the vines and branches to arrive at the small platform just below the canopy. The journey always left her feeling energized and ready to face the day, but today the effect was muted by the same thing that’d occupied her all through the long night: the would-be Toa stone. She’d spent hours doing little more than staring at it, then hours trying to sleep in spite of it while one scenario after another of what its presence might mean had played out in her head. Garta hadn’t told her anything specific about what danger might be expected, but she figured that, by this point, she’d run through just about every possibility out there and had inadvertently sacrificed two nights to do so. The long work day would probably be dominated by much of the same unless Station 8 was suddenly swamped with traffic… so yeah, work would be dominated by much of the same. At least there was a good festival planned for the evening: another station was celebrating its fifteenth year of continuous operation just before shutting down for weeks while being fitted with the same upgrades Station 5 had celebrated recently. Station parties were the biggest and the most fun, since the staff of each one was competing against the others in both daytime and nighttime activities. Station 5 had earned major kudos for its latest installment… Station 2 would be looking to top it tonight. Looking south towards that station as she crossed a bridge on her way to her own post, Telzin could all but hear the music already.
Then she spotted something else: two ground-Matoran crossing another bridge some distance away. The first, an extremely short Fe-Matoran, hurriedly picked his way along, not even slowing down when a notable gust of wind visibly shook the bridge. This was much to the consternation of the second Matoran, who Telzin readily recognized as Scorzen, the De-Matoran from yesterday. Halting once she got to her own platform, she watched with some amusement as they negotiated the rest of the bridge. The Fe-Matoran reached their platform first and looked around while waiting for Scorzen. He spotted Telzin quickly. She smiled and waved; he responded with a restrained wave of his own, then turned his attention back to his friend. The latter arrived on the platform moments later but was given little time to breathe as the Fe-Matoran quickly made his way to the ladder to ground-level and started the climb down. Scorzen followed. Telzin chuckled at the clear awkwardness with which the ground-dwellers made their way through the Madumei, but once they’d disappeared under a lower branch, it was time to move on.
Two bridges later, she arrived at Station 8, much to Letono’s surprise.
“You’re early,” he voiced said surprise before quickly adding: “Well, early by your standards.”
“Boring night,” Telzin shrugged.
“Uh-huh…” Letono was clearly unconvinced. “You don’t look like it.”
“Ugh, I know…”
“Well, good that you got here quick…” he began as he shuffled through some papers. “Two Matoran came by earlier. They were looking for you.”
Letono found the piece he was looking for. “Fe- and De-Matoran, names: Tykal and Scorzen.”
“What?” Telzin looked at the sheet. “I saw them, like, just now! What did they want?”
“Didn’t say,” Letono shrugged. “Just wanted to ask you something about yesterday.”
Telzin’s mind was already racing through possibilities. “I, I saw them climbing down over there,” she pointed. “Can I go for a minute? Maybe I can still catch ‘m!” Letono nodded in the affirmative, and with that she was out the door and all but running down the bridge to the southwest. She didn’t know a thing about this Tykal, but Scorzen? She’d never met him before yesterday, and now he was asking about it? She could imagine a number of reasons, but one stood out above all. She couldn’t let him get away before she got an answer.
Reaching the first platform, she looked down over the edge. Her eyes rapidly traced along the Tahai paths on the ground, looking for the two Matoran. No sign of either. She raced to the next platform and did the same. This one was lower than the last, closer to the rivers, and offered a wider view of ground level. Tracing the roads again, she spotted the two Matoran making their way westwards along the border path. “HEY!” she yelled down. Tykal continued on his way, but Scorzen looked around, clearly having picked up on something. “SCORZEN! UP HERE!” This time, Scorzen stopped and turned around, looking up towards the Madumei. Telzin waved, but he clearly had more trouble seeing than hearing her. “HOLD UP! I’LL BE RIGHT DOWN!” she called again. For a moment, she caught a dirty look from a Le-Matoran in one of the huts right above the platform who’d clearly been asleep until just now. She didn’t care, dashing over to the ladder and all but jumping down it. She bounded down the ladder and leapt out to catch a vine about halfway down, which she rode to the ground. Running along the border path, she soon caught up with Scorzen and Tykal waiting for her, the latter with clear impatience. “I heard you asked for me.”
“Eh, yeah…” Scorzen nodded somewhat hesitantly. “Yeah, that we did.”
“Was it about the glowing things?” Telzin pressed on.
“No!” Tykal responded before Scorzen could get a word out. “No idea what you’re talking about. Now, if you’ll excuse us…” he started down the road again, but Scorzen didn’t follow.
“Oh… you sure?” Telzin asked disappointedly. “Nothing?”
“Glowing things…” Scorzen said pensively, looking back and forth between Tykal and Telzin. “Uhm, how many do you think are out there?”
“At least two,” Telzin answered. Tykal stopped in his tracks.
“Two!?” He turned around and marched back towards her. “Who’s got the other one?” he demanded.
“Other one?” Now Telzin looked back and forth between the other two. “You mean, you know of another one?”
“No, we don’t,” Tykal quickly answered, then realized his mistake. “Well, uhm…”
While he considered, Telzin dropped and opened her backpack. Reaching in, she pulled out the rod, much to their shock. Its bright green glow was clear even in daylight. “Do you have one of these?” She asked.
“Put that away!” Tykal all but leapt forward and pushed the rod and her hand down towards the backpack. “We can’t let anyone see that, not out here.” Telzin resisted while keeping her eyes locked on him. “Fine,” he nodded quickly. “Yes, we have one. Now put it away.”
Satisfied, Telzin dropped the rod into her backpack. “Okay, so I guess there’s at least three…”
“Not out here,” Tykal said in a hushed tone as his eyes scanned up the slopes of the Tahai. “Quick, this way.” He motioned for her to follow as he started west down the path.
He led Telzin and Scorzen along the path until they reached a somewhat ramshackle brick hut on the southwestern edge of the Tahai. Scrap metal littered the area around it, but it was nothing compared to what Telzin saw when she followed him inside. There was hardly room for three Matoran to stand amidst everything piled about the common space. Scrap metal dominated the floor, but Telzin readily picked out a large variety of well-worn tools scattered throughout. Tykal checked out both windows before finally seeming to relax a bit.
“Right…” he sighed, opening up his backpack and showing its contents to Telzin: a single, roughly carved rod looking much like hers. “There it is. Picked it up in the Tahai. Where’d you find yours?”
“The Madumei,” Telzin answered. “Under an engine.”
“Okay…” Tykal nodded as he closed up the backpack and set it on the table. “Do you know anything about it?”
“A bit, yeah,” Telzin nodded. “I met a Ga-Matoran who also found one. He thought it was a Toa stone.”
“A Ga-Matoran?” Tykal looked to Scorzen, who shrugged in response.
“His name’s Garta,” Telzin added.
“Where is he?”
“On his way to Kini-Koro. He thinks that’s where he’ll be able to figure out more about it. Actually, he asked me to keep an eye out for more of these things. He wants to know how many there are.”
“Okay…” Tykal nodded slowly.
“He said he’d come back soon to check in with whoever else found one,” Telzin added. “So… you guys aren’t planning on going anywhere soon, are you?”
“We’re actually about to head to the temple ourselves…” Scorzen noted.
“Yeah,” Tykal chimed in. “Your friend was right. These are Toa Stones.” He gestured at the backpack. “We’re about to take this one to the temple.”
“We could meet Garta there,” Scorzen suggested.
“Of course. You said Ga-Matoran?”
“Yes,” Telzin confirmed. “Pretty tall, little worn around the edges. Old-world.”
“We’ll look for him,” Tykal assured her. “Can’t be that hard to find a Ga-Matoran a town of Ce-Matoran, right?”
“There’s some Ga-Matoran in Kini-Koro…” Scorzen pointed out.
“Okay, fine, we’ll ask around. Either way, we should get packing.” Tykal looked around the room, then turned back to Telzin. “Can you come with us?”
“Eh, not really. I’ve got a job up there, for one, and Garta did ask me to keep an eye out here just in case there’s more…”
Scorzen was about to say something, but Tykal got there first. “Yeah, keep doing that. If you hear about any more being found, tell the Matoran who found them to go to Kini-Koro too. We’ll get a message back to you once we get there.”
“Alright, will do.” Telzin gave a thumbs-up. “I should get back, then…”
“Sounds like a plan,” Tykal smiled and reached out with a fist. Telzin bumped it in return. “We’ll be out of here as soon as possible. Did your friend tell you to keep quiet about the Toa stones, by the way?”
“Yeah, he did. Didn’t want to cause panic.”
“Let’s stick to that,” Tykal suggested.
“Will do.” Telzin headed for the door. “Good luck and say hi to Garta for me.”
“We will,” Tykal assured her. Scorzen gave a nod. With that, Telzin made her way out the door and started for the Madumei.
Tykal closed the door after she left. “Right, do we have supplies for four days?”
“I picked some up,” Scorzen pointed to the ice box, “but I think we can manage two days at best.”
“We’ll pick up more in Ga-Koro, then.”
“How are we going to bring it all with us?”
“The delivery cars,” Tykal gestured to behind the hut. “They’ll get us to Kini-Koro a lot faster than walking.”
“The things with the pedals?” Scorzen remembered the pedal cars quite well. Tykal poured months into developing them, then nobody bought one because they were useless to maneuver in the city and no better than rahi carts outside of it. He figured Tykal had disassembled all the ones he’d built for parts by now… and even if he hadn’t, the long-term performance record of his inventions was hardly stellar.
“What, you don’t think they’ll last?” Tykal all but read his friend’s mind. “You underestimate me! I sold a couple to Ku-Koran hunters years ago. They still use them on the plains of the Bonupo and have never had any problems!”
Tykal spent the next twenty minutes all but digging two mostly-intact pedal cars out of the scrap collection that had accumulated behind the hut, and another hour finding replacements for the missing parts. Scorzen packed food, blankets, camping gear, and his dikorda into the trunk of the larger one while Tykal packed the other with an assortment of tools and spares to keep them going. Before long, all was packed and ready to go.
As Scorzen remembered, the cars were indeed a pain to maneuver up and down the narrow, winding streets of Gol-Rui, but as soon as they were clear of the southern slope of the Golyi district, the going got smoother. Soon they were making quick headway south through the Bomo. He still had his reservations, but as the city and its noise faded behind them, he started to feel a little more comfortable. Tykal’s enthusiasm helped; his near-maniacal drive was locked in on this ‘project,’ and nothing and nobody was going to stand in his way. Even the rain, which began to fall not long after they left, didn’t dampen his spirits any. Scorzen let himself get carried away with it as best he could, but couldn’t quite get one worrying thought out of his head: if the Toa stone was a bad omen, what did it portend?
Another extra chapter for this month, 'cause November.