Seeing Onathei in his new state of power and confidence, Feyain's energy returned to her. Now three Toa at full power stood against eight Rai who had all been knocked out by one of the Toa earlier in the day. It wouldn't be a long fight.
Nuterai, the Rai of Lightning who had earlier knocked out Onathei and Gyotaren, was naturally the first that all three Toa went for. Ice, Earth, and Plantlife fired together in a trinity of energy beams. In self-defense, Nuterai channeled electricity to hold off the Toa's beam. It was doing no good; his wall of electricity was quickly being pushed back.
With one final cry of pain, Nuterai was encased in ice and earth, and his tomb was covered in venomous vines. If he could make it out of the ice, he would then have to make it out of the earth, and then all he would find waiting for him would be poison. An eventual death was certain, but he would be alive for a long while.
As the Toa had been doing this, though, the other Rai had been more than spectators. Hirirai had flown into the air and was preparing to divebomb the Toa. Jiskrai was attempting to kill the Toa with their own armor using magnetism. Sajerai was holding the Toa still with increased gravity.
Onathei grabbed Hirirai out of the air with a vine launched from his wrist. With the vine, he slammed the Rai of Air into the ground again and again until he lost consciousness.
Gyotaren grabbed Jiskrai with a hand of dirt. He tossed her into the air and casually caught her, only to smash her into the ground. She didn't get up.
Feyain froze portions of the air and sent them at Sajerai. A thousand ice needles embedded themselves in her armor, and she collapsed from the pain.
It had all happened in the course of ten seconds, before any of the other Rai had gotten a chance to attack. Four Rai remained standing.
Mitsorai, Rai of Sonics, let out a shriek. Perhaps it was out of fear, perhaps it was to attack. Gyotaren activated his Kakama and broke the sound barrier, striking her down before the sound reached his ears.
Yichirai, Rai of Earth, attempted to use Gyotaren's attack on Jiskrai against him by grabbing Onathei with a giant earthen hand. Onathei sent vines through the hand and covered it with them, then dragged it above Yichirai's head and brought it down hard. When it came back up, she was out cold.
Feyain and Suhirai, both bearing the element of Ice, sent opposing flurries of snow at each other. It ended with Feyain unscathed and Suhirai buried.
The only one left now was Mezirai.
"Originals or modifieds," said the Rai of Water, "what I said to you earlier still remains true, Onathei. You cannot beat someone who can predict an attack coming and dodge it."
Gyotaren laughed darkly. "Not if I make an attack that you can't dodge. Not if I make an attack that none of us will dodge."
Onathei looked at his friend. "You're talking about collapsing the entire chamber, right?"
"That's idiotic. The only one who could survive such an attack is you. Feyain would--both of us would die. And it's completely pointless to waste our lives on such a weak opponent." Feyain nodded in agreement.
"Do you have a better suggestion, then?" spat Gyotaren.
"You're the brains of this group, Gyotaren," said Onathei quietly. "Aside from mass suicide, how do you stop someone who can dodge perfectly every time?"
Gyotaren shrugged, speechless.
"Eavy," said Feyain. The other two Toa looked surprised, as if they hadn't expected to hear Feyain talking anymore. "Multiple attackf."
"I see what you're saying," said Gyotaren thoughtfully. "His power slows down time, but it doesn't stop it--there's a limit to how quick his reaction time can be. If we throw multiple attacks at him, maybe he won't be able to dodge them all." Feyain nodded. Onathei shrugged as if to say "it's worth a try".
Using his new twisted Kakama, Gyotaren dashed towards Mezirai. His new mask allowed him to move far faster than the old one had. The 200 feet separating his current position and Mezirai were crossed in one-hundredth of a millisecond.
Onathei and Feyain took positions on each side of the Rai of Water as Gyotaren stood in front of him. Then they all attacked. Feyain shot a frigid blast of ice. Onathei attempted to create poisonous vines but...
Wind? Instead of plants, air had erupted from the ground. Startled, Gyotaren didn't attack and Mezirai was easily able to dodge Feyain's attack.
Curiously, Gyotaren tried to create a shield of earth. Instead, fire manifested and burnt his arm...but he didn't feel it.
"Isn't this interesting?" said Mezirai. "All three of you are dual-elements now."
"It doesn't matter," Feyain reminded her friends. "No matter what element you're uving, you can 'till attack."
"Right," said Onathei, gathering air power around his fist. Gyotaren made a fireball on the tip of his finger...
Feyain launched another ice bolt. Gyotaren threw his fireball. Onathei powered forward his wind-aided fist towards the Rai of Water.
Mezirai's power activated. He thought quickly, even though at this point he probably had a good ten minutes before any of the attacks would hit. He could put out the fireball with water and then jump with geysers under his feet to dodge the other two. Onathei would end up frozen by Feyain's attack and Feyain would end up hit by Onathei.
It worked, almost. Onathei and Feyain did not end up attacked by each other. As soon as they saw what was happening, Onathei halted his fist and Feyain's ice bolt disappeared. Each refused to hurt the other.
"Nice try," he said, as time returned to normal speed around him. "But you'll have to do better."
At that moment, they heard a familiar voice calling from far away.
Isn't that Kusurai? thought Gyotaren. Isn't he dead?!
The Rai of Plantlife presented himself as he walked into the chamber with a slight bow. "I see it was you and Onathei who brought me back to life," he said.
"What?" said Gyotaren, confused. "How are you even alive?"
Even Feyain and Mezirai, who had no idea what was going on or why Kusurai would have been dead, looked disturbed.
"I was never dead. Gyotaren: That tall guy you saw was called Kaanyui. He has many powers, and one of them is to absorb the spirit of a being and take on his form. That's what he did to me, but Onathei 'killed' him as me, so my spirit could be returned. But first, Kaanyui needed to be cut off from the core's energy stream. When Onathei and Gyotaren absorbed so much of the core's power, Kaanyui was disrupted, his power over my spirit failed and I came back to life. "
"That almost makes a little sense," said Gyotaren sarcastically. "Why did you need to cut Kaanyui off from the core?"
"He is, to our knowledge, a being of energy projected by the core--the core's consciousness, so to speak. That means that when he's cut off from the core, he temporarily ceases to exist."
"But doesn't that mean..." Gyotaren cut himself off before he could finish the absurd thought.
"Yeah, it does mean that," said Kusurai. "This island is alive."
"Alive?!" cried Onathei. "It's just a big rock, how can it be alive?!"
"Think of the actual island as a shell for the core, which is the real living being. We don't know anything about it, except that it is almost limitlessly powerful."
"Let'f get out of here," said Feyain, fear in her eyes. All she knew was that anything as big as an island and alive would be far too strong for her.
"This is our home, Feyain," said Onathei firmly. "If it's alive, it will just have to deal with us."
"That'f what I'm afraid of," replied Feyain.
"Forgotten about me?" said Mezirai, interrupting the Toa's revelation. "You still have one opponent left. Err, that is, two. Right, Kusurai?"
Kusurai didn't reply for a long time. "Wrong," he said at last.
"What?!" was the general consensus from the Toa and Mezirai.
"I'm tired of being Nizarkha's pawn. He promised that one day we would get off of this island, that he would save us all."
"And he will," said Mezirai.
"I can't blindly believe that. When Kaanyui killed me, I realized that Nizarkha can't really do anything for us. I also can't believe that originals can't live on this island, and if they really can't--well, just look at Onathei and Gyotaren now. We can make the Matoran like that too, and live here in peace with them. From this point on, I'm your enemy, Mezirai, and I will be fighting for the Toa and their cause. I promise you that."
"So be it," said Mezirai quietly, and a geyser erupted under Kusurai's feet, blasting him towards the ceiling.
"No!" cried Onathei, using his new Air powers to clumsily return Kusurai to the ground.
"Thanks," said Kusurai. "I didn't think you would be so quick to help me when I've been your enemy up to this point..."
"Hey, you promised you would be fighting for us, and as far as I'm concerned, you aren't an enemy until you break that promise...brother." Onathei grinned.
Kusurai grinned back. "By the way, guys, Mezirai has a weak spot. The field of time distortion around him when his power activates, I can see it and track its movements... And wherever it's the thinnest is the direction to attack him from."
"You can see it?!" cried Gyotaren. "How?"
"A side-effect of my modifications," Kusurai explained. "It's a vision power, which not only involves seeing far away and through things, but seeing energy fields and streams. You'll find that you have some extra powers too, probably beyond the second element. Anyway, someone attack his...left arm, now!"
Feyain immediately shot an ice bolt at Mezirai's left shoulder. It froze solid, with Mezirai having had no chance to dodge it.
Gyotaren threw a fireball at Mezirai's head. He was sent reeling backwards.
"Lower right torso!"
Onathei tackled Mezirai, punching him with a wind-powered fist again and again in the weak spot Kusurai had described.
Mezirai was not used to pain. The last time he had felt pain... That must have been when he was training with Kusurai, and he and Kusurai and both found their powers--Kusurai had found how his worked against Mezirai's so well. And now that knowledge was being used against Mezirai.
It was all too much... Mezirai collapsed.
"That's that," said Onathei, stepping away from the unconscious form of Mezirai. "Now that we have a moment of peace, I have a few questions."
"Yes?" said Gyotaren.
"First of all, since when has Feyain had ice powers? She's a Toa of Water."
"I difcovered them and didn't afk," said Feyain dismissively. "I don't remember how to uve water. I don't remember ever uving it."
"What?" said Gyotaren, puzzled. "You used it to save me the first time we battled Nizarkha."
"I loft my memory," she explained.
"I made her think about her past too much, I guess," added Onathei. "And she had a headache, and when it was over, all she remembered was me."
"Is that why she always got quiet when we talked about her past?" said Gyotaren. "Her head started to hurt?"
Feyain nodded and then shrugged, as if to say "probably". "Now my turn to afk queftion," she said. "Why you and Onathei look different from earlier?"
"We were thrown into the core of the island by Nizarkha," Gyotaren answered. "We were mutated and got new masks and armor, and new elements..."
"Your new masks are ugly, if I may interject," said Kusurai. "You looked so much more...heroic before."
"Well, we still have the old ones," said Onathei. "Personally I hate my new mask. But I can't take it off. It's fused to my face."
"I like my new mask..." muttered Gyotaren.
"Seriously?" demanded Onathei. "Have you seen it? It's hideous."
"But it's much more powerful than my old one," he said. "I would rather be ugly than weak."
"Well, I hope that everyone else can get used to it," Onathei said earnestly. "The Matoran may confuse you with an alien." And immediately everyone began laughing, except Gyotaren.
"It's not time for you to laugh just yet, Toa," came Nizarkha's voice, echoing from all around the chamber.
The laughter abruptly stopped, and Onathei looked around vigorously. "Where are you?" he demanded. "Show yourself or I'll..."
"You'll what, Onathei?" said Nizarkha, laughing madly. "You can't do anything to me. You have no idea where I am."
"You said you were psychically connected to the Rai," said Onathei. "We've got eight unconscious ones here that we are willing to kill. Would that count as doing something to you?"
"Not anymore," Nizarkha said. "Not anymore when you've already killed so many of them. You've damaged my mind beyond repair. Maybe if you hadn't, I would've been wise enough to stop myself from doing this..."
A portal of some sort opened in the center of the chamber. The Rai began to be pulled towards it. As they reached it, their bodies evaporated into blue energy and disappeared into the portal.
Onathei grabbed Kusurai tight to ensure he wasn't pulled into the hole, which didn't seem at all interested in the Toa.
"They're all a part of me now," Nizarkha's seemingly-omnipresent, undoubtedly insane voice boomed. "They are me. The only ones I'm missing are the ones that were already dead. And Kusurai...but he's already dead to me."
White and blue armor began forming around the portal. Two enormous white pillars formed...and then in horror the inhabitants of the chamber realized they were legs. Nizarkha's legs.
Nizarkha's new body finished forming, and the portal had become his heartlight. He was as tall as the chamber and his two feet took up nearly half of the space on the ground.
"What is this?!" demanded Onathei.
"You're always so clueless," Gyotaren muttered. "The core gave him this power, the power to absorb his underlings as a last resort. Now his power has been increased wildly... And judging from the energy I'm feeling from him, he's got enough power to stand a fighting chance against Kaanyui."
"I doubt that," said Kusurai bluntly. "The problem is that he's getting fed power from the core. So the only way to beat him is to cut him off from the core."
"And the only way to do that is...?" said Onathei, not catching on.
"To throw someone else in the core, obviously!" Gyotaren snapped.
At this point Nizarkha had gotten used to his new form and had attempted to smash the Toa and Kusurai to pieces with a gigantic foot. Onathei created a gale-force wind to throw the heroes out of the way while Gyotaren peppered the foot with fire. Nizarkha stomped from the pain, causing an earthquake which scattered the Toa across the chamber.
"Who's going into the core?" cried Gyotaren. "We need to decide quick!"
"I'll do it!" Feyain shouted. She ran for the entrance to the staircase leading down to the core, but she never made it: Nizarkha put his foot down over the staircase and secured his foot.
"There's no time to get to the core, Feyain!" Kusurai yelled. "We'll need to find another way to cut him off."
"Like what?" called Onathei, who had been slammed into a wall during the earthquake where he now still stuck.
Kusurai activated his unique ability, the same power that had allowed him to track the movement of Mezirai's time field earlier. He saw the core's energy flowing up from below the staircase that Nizarkha's foot was covering. Then he noticed a pattern in the way the energy was flowing, and a strange discolored spot on Nizarkha's armor...
"I've got a plan!" cried the Rai of Plantlife. "Do as I say, and I'll explain after we win!"