As Ekimu watched Mamuk, leader of the Jungle Tribe, walking away, he felt like his hopes were leaving with the Jungle Protector. He had already spoken to four of the other Protectors, and none of them had seen Ekimu's brother, Makuta. The only Protector Ekimu had not spoken to was Agarak, the Stone Protector, who no one could seem to find.
Ekimu was beginning to worry. Makuta had been acting strangely the last few days, and increasingly grumpy towards his brother. This morning, Ekimu had sensed a massive surge of power from his forge. He had rushed to the forge, only to discover that Makuta had disappeared.
Ekimu was about to gather his items and go search for his brother himself when he heard a knock at the door. The knocker did not bother waiting for an invitation before barging in. Ekimu was surprised to see Agarak.
"Ekimu!" Agarak said, breathless. "I saw... Makuta... he had... a Mask... black... radiating power... at the northwest region..."
Ekimu grabbed his hammer. "Show me."
Agarak nodded and took off. Ekimu found it hard to keep up with the young Stone Protector. Agarak didn't slow down as he led Ekimu from the Ancient City to the border of the northwest region. Here, in the soft ground, Ekimu could see Makuta's footprints.
Ekimu frowned. He did not know how long it had taken for Agarak to run from here to the Ancient City, but it had to have been a while. Yet Ekimu could still sense residual energy from whatever mask Makuta had been carrying.
This is bad, Ekimu thought. What has my brother done?
"Go find the other Protectors and bring them here," Ekimu said. Without waiting for a response from Agarak, Ekimu took off, following Makuta's trail.
The farther he went, the more powerful the energy in the air and the more worried Ekimu became. Finally, he came to a clearing and saw his brother. Makuta was standing atop a knoll. In one hand, he held his Mask of Control. In the other, he held a mask Ekimu had never seen before. It was pure black, with red flames dancing around it, and six pylons extending from the sides, each glowing faintly a different color. Ekimu could tell this was the mask that was emanating such power.
As Ekimu watched, horrified, Makuta dropped his Mask of Control to the ground. Then he raised the other mask to his face and put it on.
The effects were immediate. Makuta's armor changed from pink and gold to black and red and he doubled in size. Energy began emanating from the mask, and the ground began to shake. Cracks started appearing in the ground, quickly growing into chasms.
Ekimu had been knocked off of his feet by the first shockwave, but he quickly got back to his feet. He looked at his brother, who was almost shaking with pure power. Ekimu grabbed his hammer from where he had dropped it, and ran toward his brother.
As he ran, he found himself having to dodge several cracks in the ground. Makuta had not noticed his approach -- or he didn't care, it was impossible to tell. Finally, Ekimu got close enough to Makuta. This close to the Mask, the power waves were almost enough to make Ekimu black out, but he managed to maintain consciousness. Summoning all of his strength, Ekimu swung his hammer and knocked the Mask off of Makuta's face.
As soon as the mask left Makuta's face, the biggest power wave yet exploded from it. Ekimu could feel his own Mask of Creation being knocked off of his face. Then he blacked out.
Agarak had just reached the border of the west region when the ground began to shake. He paused for a moment, trying to keep his balance. It lasted several seconds. Finally, it stopped, and Agarak sighed in relief.
Right before he found himself flying.
It felt as if a dozen tornados ripped through the region at the same time. That is, if the tornados were made of sheer power and energy. Somehow, Agarak avoided blacking out. It only lasted a second, but it felt like forever. When it was finally over, Agarak found himself lying on his back on the ground, his body aching.
He waited a few seconds to see if another blast was coming, but none came. Slowly, Agarak glanced up the slope of the mountain. Nothing seemed out of place, though the power blast had knocked the Stone Protector several feet down the slope. Then he glanced down the slope, and he gasped.
The forest he had been approaching had been flattened. The trees had not been uprooted; rather, they had been obliterated, smashed into tiny pieces, and in some cases seemingly vaporized.
What was THAT?