The Other Two-Hour Death Bargain
Gyotaren ran at full speed after the fleeing Rai, activating his Kakama as he went. Feyain was still trotting along behind as fast as she could, refusing to let Gyotaren drag her with him. As it turned out, something was slowing Kakirai down too. Every few steps he would stop to grab his head in pain. His fire aura would flicker and then return to full strength. And he would keep running. Eventually, Feyain and Kakirai fell so far behind Gyotaren and Kusurai that the latter were no longer visible.
Feyain shrugged and used a water geyser to propel herself towards Kakirai. Since he was only a few hundred feet away at this point, he had no chance to escape and now found himself in a battle with the semi-mute Toa of Water.
Water beats fire, thought Kakirai grimly. But on the other hand, this Toa has never been in a one-on-one fight before, probably... As long as I can get and keep "it" under control, I might be able to win.
Feyain gave herself an aura of water in mockery of Kakirai. Not knowing any other way to go about fighting, Feyain lunged at her opponent. The average native of Ayomeii was only about the size of a Matoran, so even the dwarf Toa Feyain was able to easily outweigh and hold down Kakirai.
As the fire and water auras clashed, the fire began to be smothered while the water began to be boiled. In nature, obviously, a sheet of water over a fire would choke off its supply of oxygen to burn and it would go out. But when the sheet of water and the fire were being controlled by two living beings with very strong wills and the ability to control nature, the outcome would be different. It became no longer a game of rock-paper-scissors, where one force would always beat another and be beaten by another in the same manner every time... Now it was a test of willpower.
The boiling water was scalding Feyain. She couldn't take much more of it. Just as she was about to drop the aura and pull back, something else happened. Kakirai was flung back by some unseen power, clutching his skull and groaning. The fire aura raged and grew larger and out of control. Then it began to burn Kakirai himself. He screamed.
Feyain chuckled, seeming to know exactly what was going on. "'Every pro hav a con, every mutation givef a benefit and a defect.' Your wordv, not mine." Feyain spoke with much confidence and used proper grammar, to the point where that had it not been for her apparent inability to pronounce an 's' or 'z' sound, it would've been impossible to tell she'd ever had trouble speaking.
The scream momentarily stopped, the fire died down. "Wait!" cried Kakirai, his voice heavy with pain but still urgently excited. "You're her!"
"Mhm, I'm her," said Feyain. "The Ga-Matoran you were locked in a laboratory with, all that time ago. Or rather...the Ak-Matoran." Feyain had used the term for a Matoran of Lightning, a relatively rare tribe of Matoran. With an affinity for cities and industrialized areas, along with the fact that they were all female, Ak-Matoran had been given the nickname "Vortixx-Matoran".
Kakirai chuckled, and the chuckle turned into a chilling laughing fit. Feyain was laughing too. Kakirai spoke when the laughing had quieted down: "Isn't it funny," he said, "that we should meet again in these circumstances? We might have been friends."
"We 'till could. It'f not too late yet."
"Sorry, Feyain, it is," he said. "The only con to your element-changing mutation was the loss of your ability to pronounce 's' and 'z' sounds... The con to mine is going to kill me."
As if on cue, the fire aura went out of control again and Kakirai continued screaming. Feyain gasped. The ground opened and a tsunami erupted out of it. It was Feyain's attempt to save Kakirai from his own power.
The fire aura was indeed extinguished by this maneuver, permanently. Kakirai lay on the charred earth, his blood-red armor blackened. His eyes were closed and his mouth was open. Then Kakirai stood up.
A new fire aura was lit. This time the fire was black, and had a repulsive atmosphere about it. Feyain backed away at first, and then stepped forward.
"Are you ready to die?" said a voice that was not Kakirai's.
It was all a side-effect of the mutation, Feyain knew. The fire aura must have been the result of some sentient fire creature whose consciousness had been added into Kakirai's. Now that Kakirai was dead, the fire's consciousness fully controlled Kakirai's body and brain and used them to speak and attack. The being Feyain now faced was not Kakirai anymore.
Feyain shook her head "no" and kicked "Kakirai" in the stomach. While he was doubled over in pain, Feyain vaulted to the other side of her opponent, flipping in midair while doing so. She landed on her hands and did two kicks to the back simultaneously, one with each foot. The enemy flew forward and skidded forward for at least ten feet before he stopped. The ground he had touched was scarred black, and purple smoke rose off of it.
Still he stood up. He created two fireballs on his fists and punched forward, sending the fireballs flying at Feyain. One grazed her shoulder while the other one she safely dodged. But she quickly realized that she hadn't been the target. The fireballs had been traveling in an arc, and now they had landed on the ground and set fire to it. The fire quickly spread all around Feyain, and in that moment she knew that she only had one option.
"Kakirai" was only trying to kill her. Once she was dead, he would probably absorb the fire to gain back the energy he had expended. So all she had to do was die. How to be convincing though?
As she adjusted her ill-fitting mask, she realized the answer to that question. She didn't know what her mask power did...but she was sure that no matter what, it would help her. Feyain felt the energy flowing through her mask and face. She gave the energy a tiny spark of more energy from the rest of her body. Then her mask started glowing and... Feyain felt her spirit, her consciousness, ejected from her body as it collapsed dead on the ground.
...Did I do it wrong? she was left to wonder, floating in spirit form above her body. Her opponent, assuming Feyain had collapsed from the heat, absorbed the fire and left Feyain's body unharmed. He began to walk away.
But Feyain wasn't done with him yet.
Still in spirit form, she clumsily launched herself at him to attack. But she went right through, and he didn't seem to notice. Feyain tried again, and again, but it never worked. Thoroughly frustrated now, she decided to try one more time, launching herself straight into his head. This worked, but not exactly how Feyain had planned it to.
She wound up inside Kakirai's mind. It was like a small room with some sort of control panel, and she assumed that normally Kakirai would be standing at it, with the fire monster restrained by the chains that now lay uselessly on the ground. Today, Kakirai was dead on the ground while the fire monster was free and at the control panel. And in addition, a Toa was walking in now...but that was Feyain.
Feyain chuckled to herself. She was a Toa of Water. This would not even be a challenge. In mockery of the fire monster's manner of attack earlier, she created two balls of blue water on her fists. Then she launched them at the fire monster with two punches. The fire monster, feeling the two hits on its back, quickly turned away from the control panel. In that moment, on the outside world, Kakirai had collapsed.
Feyain decided the only way to ensure the fire monster died would be to flood the entire "room". Feyain had seen a Toa do this once. Now she would try it: a Nova Blast.
She gathered all the energy she had in her body. Then she released it. Involuntarily, she gave a cry of excitement as water blasted out of her body from all directions and began to fill the room.
There was a hissing sound as the water boiled away at the touch of the fire creature. But it couldn't possibly boil all of the water away. By the time the room was full, the fire was completely choked off. The fire creature simply disappeared without a trace.
Feyain de-activated her mask power. Back outside of Kakirai's mind, Feyain's body rose. Kakirai lay dead not too far away. The field was as calm as it had been, save burns by black fire from which purple smoke rose. Feyain decided that this had now become a place of evil, and it was no place to bury Kakirai. She picked up his body and slung him over her shoulder. In this manner she began walking to catch up with Gyotaren and Kusurai. Her steps were slow, somber, and thoughtful.
Kusurai had continued running. He didn't know where he was going. Anywhere he could be safe from the demon Toa chasing him would be preferable.
Eventually, they were both tired of running. To end it quickly, Gyotaren turned the earth against Kusurai. A wall of mud rose up too fast for Kusurai to swerve out of the way. He slammed into it and fell backwards. Gyotaren was upon him in seconds.
"Now that I've caught you," said the Toa, "you have two choices. Try and win a futile battle against me, or save yourself some energy and surrender."
Kusurai simply laughed. Gyotaren scowled and moved to punch his opponent in the face, hoping to shut him up. But before he could, a vine shot from the ground and grabbed his wrist, holding it still. More vines sprouted until Gyotaren was rendered immobile.
"You were right that I couldn't beat you," Kusurai said, "but at least I can hold you down while I run." He stood up and ran, not allowing the curses Gyotaren screamed from behind him slow him down.
As Kusurai disappeared from sight, Gyotaren found himself still struggling against the vines that restrained him. Then he chuckled at how simple this was.
He focused on the earth below him and it began to churn. The roots of the vines holding him in place were shredded to bits. Gyotaren stood up, the vines still hanging off of him but now free from the ground. Then he activated his Kakama and raced off after his opponent.
He found Kusurai collapsed on the ground. But by then Kusurai was the least of his worries. Standing over him was a giant humanoid being. He was at least thirty feet tall, and looked like a scaled-up Toa. His armor was black and silver, with patches of red. Just standing near him, the power radiating off of him was enough to make Gyotaren reel. His power dwarfed Gyotaren's and Kusurai's as much as their power dwarfed a worm's...and that would be under-exaggerating.
The being looked up and saw Gyotaren. He regarded him with a raised eyebrow and an amused smile.
Gyotaren assumed a fighting position and willed a cage of earth into existence to restrain the being. But no sooner had the cage formed did it disappear. The earth didn't return back to the island. It had ceased to exist.
Who is this guy? wondered Gyotaren. He charged towards him, his weapon held outwards. But he hadn't come within twenty feet of the being when he collapsed as Kusurai had. He simply couldn't approach him before being overwhelmed by his sheer power. In his last moments before losing consciousness, a vague thought crossed his mind. Is he why Nizarkha and the Rai are trying to drive us away from this island?
Feyain caught up to Gyotaren and Kusurai within half an hour of walking. Towards the end, she picked up her pace, having a feeling of terrible urgency come over her.
When she found them, they were both lying on the ground, unconscious. Feyain wondered what had happened, but before waking them up, she buried Kakirai. She used a trickle of water to slowly erode a crater in the ground to bury him in. It was slow going, but Feyain couldn't summon any more water--the Nova Blast in Kakirai's mind had exerted all of her elemental energy. Before too long, the grave was sufficiently deep.
Gently, she laid the corpse inside. "Goodbye," Feyain said simply. "My friend." She spent the next half hour filling the crater back up with fistfuls of dirt. Then finally, she woke up Gyotaren.
"What happen?" asked Feyain, reverting to her "normal" style of speaking, with no regard to grammar.
"Kusurai escaped..." Gyotaren muttered, half-conscious and still lying on the ground. "This huge being..."
"Huge?" asked Feyain.
"It means big," said Gyotaren, sitting up and rolling his eyes.
"No, I mean, who iv thif huge being?" she clarified.
Gyotaren cocked his head. "How come you never spoke that well before?"
Feyain shrugged. "Anfer the queftion."
"There was this huge being," Gyotaren said again. "He was tall...and...big. And he knocked out Kusurai, or something, and I couldn't even approach him before I fainted."
"Thank you," Feyain replied. "Let'f find Onathei."
"But what do we do about Kusurai?" asked Gyotaren. The question didn't need to be answered. The Rai of Plantlife was stirring. He stood up.
"I'll take you to Onathei," he said clumsily. Gyotaren noticed something off about the way he moved, spoke. It was like a new being, or perhaps an old being in a new body. Gyotaren had felt the same way upon becoming a Toa--clumsy and uncomfortable. But it had quickly worn off.
"Are you okay?" he asked Kusurai, their fight forgotten.
"Yeah," he replied. Whatever Gyotaren had just noticed had passed. He shrugged and assumed that he had imagined it.
"Anyway, you claimed that you can take us to Onathei," said Gyotaren. "How do you know where he is?"
"I don't," said Kusurai, with a malicious grin. Barbed vines shot up from the ground and grabbed Feyain and Gyotaren, too fast for them to react. The barbs pierced their armor and injected poison into their muscles. Then the vines retreated into the ground. "But you two will be as good as dead in two hours without..." He paused, created a second vine which sprouted a bell-shaped fruit. He plucked the fruit and held it up. "...this. I'm going to wait here for Onathei to come to us, and then we will make a negotiation."
"I guess we have no choice, then," said Gyotaren resignedly, examining his wounds absently. Then to himself, he added, "Hurry up, Onathei."