Tamrix didn’t want to die. He was getting far too close to comfort to that particular event, however, and he was doing his best to remedy that, but having only Gordok to watch his back didn’t help very much. Gordok worked well, but he was a bit of a newbie and tended to not react reflexively often enough.
“Gordok,” Tamrix grunted as he managed to roll out of the way of a blow from Bartha’s hammer, “get behind me. I need--“ another roll “—us to work our way to the lever back there.”
Gordok looked where Tamrix was pointing. He knew now what Tamrix had in mind, and liked it. “Back to back,” he acknowledged. Got it.”
So saying he retreated from his scuffle with Yurdil had her blades and bumped into Tamrix’s back. The two of them began edging backward toward the lever, with Bartha, Yurdil, Jahvoka, and Rewta following.
Yurdil tried once more to flash into Tamrix’s mind, but for some reason the Runask had a complete mental shield in place, much like the Hokanuka. She flashed into Gordok’s mind instead, trying to get some idea of their strategy so she could then flash that to her teammates. Instead, because Gordok now realized what Tamrix was doing, she got the whole plan from her mental scan, as well as the intended result.
See that lever? She flashed to her teammates. No one flips that lever, or this battle gets indefinitely harder.
Thus, wordlessly, all the Toa Tronux turned toward the lever in unison, then looked back at Tamrix and Gordok, ready to fight.
Tamrix scowled. “Karzahni-loving Toa of Psionics. She read your mind, didn’t she?” he asked Gordok.
Gordok honestly did not know, so all he did was shrug. Tamrix’s brow furrowed. Okay, he flashed to Gordok telepathically. Never mind the teamwork. I’m going for it right now.
As Gordok watched Tamrix make his move, he was taken aback at the fact that Tamrix was able to access his mind. Then he remembered. Tamrix had the powers of a Kanohi Faxonn, the Mask of Kindred, which enabled the user to assume the powers of any Rahi in the same environment as the user. Tamrix probably knew of a telepathic Rahi, so he simply temporarily assumed that ability. At that moment he had also apparently assumed the power of a Phase Dragon, as he managed to simply pass right through all of the Toa’s attacks without harm. As Bartha went in for a swing, Tamrix summoned a lava rat’s ability to ignite itself, which drove the Toa of Iron off. He continued unmatched to the lever until a small sward of vines erupted from the fortress floor and encircled his body.
Nearby, Xovar had temporarily allowed Runik to face Strygel alone while he tried to trap Tamrix. Tamrix simply burned hotter, burning through Xovar’s plant growth. Xovar smirked and, with a chuckle, summoned a new swarm of vines, this time equipped with fireproof bark. Now Tamrix was in trouble. That is, until he summoned a Phase Dragon’s power again and passed through the vines unharmed.
A wall of flame came up in front of him, which soon faded, but was replaced by Jahvoka and Rewta taking up guard between Tamrix and the switch. Whirling, Tamrix saw that Runik had pounded Strygel into submission and now stood beside his teammates, of whom the Iron Toa and the Psionics Toa were engaged fighting Gordok and winning.
Surrounded, Tamrix saw no way to get by, even with his intangibility powers. After all, no amount of intangibility could protect from the power of raw, unadulterated sound. Thus, the Sonics Toa had to go.
Thankfully, Strygel knew that, too. Tamrix glanced at his seemingly unconscious companion to see that he was indeed awake. Smiling, the Runask pretended to advance in his direction, but was predictably cut off by Rewta and Jahvoka, the latter crossing his Decibel Spikes.
Strygel got the hint. As fast as lightning, he flipped over onto his back and fired his explosive spinners as Rewta and Jahvoka’s back, knocking them into the air and past Tamrix. When they sprawled on the ground and did not move, Tamrix knew they wouldn’t be bothering him.
The other Toa, however, acted quickly. Yurdil attacked Strygel mentally while Runik lanced deadly flames in Tamrix’s direction. The Runask used the agility of a Rock Raptor to dance to the side, backflip several times, then leap toward the ceiling. His feet adhered to the ceiling like a gecko and he continued to head for the lever. Runik charged, shooting fire ahead of Tamrix. The Runask leaped and dove, leaping from the ceiling to the wall, then back to the ground as he evaded the flames. Runik managed to get a wall of flame between Tamrix and the switch, then put himself behind said wall, standing in front of the lever.
“Want to get to that? You’ll have to go through me,” Runik said, brandishing his sword.
Tamrix said nothing, but glanced back at Strygel. His ally was down again, and this time it looked to be real. Not only that, Gordok was on the floor with the Iron Toa’s foot planted on his chest and Rewta was on her way to join Runik and Yurdil in surrounding Tamrix.
“Hands up, Runask,” Rewta said.
Tamrix complied. Yurdil advanced on Tamrix, with her blades at the ready, prepared to strike if either of Tamrix’s arms moved.
It was fortunate for Tamrix, then, that he had no need to move those appendages. He had another. His tail lanced out and encircled Yurdil, then, with a quick motion of his feet, put her between himself and the other two Toa.
Tamrix then calmly gestured with his blade, to make sure the Toa got the hint of Yurdil’s fate if they made a move. Quickly, before they could figure out some way to stop him, he moved over to the lever and prepared to flip it.
It didn’t move.
“Whatsa matter?” Bartha smiled. From across the room, his was using his power over metal to lock the mechanism in place. Tamrix cursed under his breath. He was enraged and a little impressed. Toa were far more competent than Rularx or anyone else he had ever met gave them credit for.
A sudden explosion sounded off right beside Tamrix. He fell to the ground, looking back to see the door by the lever blown to bits and now offering no resistance to the beings within. Looking across the room, he also saw Strygel back on his feet, his Rhotuka launcher cooling down.
“You’re very good at faking defeat, you know,” Tamrix smirked.
“Is he?” Runik replied. “Well, I’ll have to make sure he’s down this time.” He then advanced toward Strygel. He didn’t get very far, for an electro-rocket crashed into the ground in front of him. Turning quickly, he saw a Muaka there, outfitted with various weapons, standing among various other vicious Rahi, ready to take the Toa down.
“Great,” Xovar muttered. “Nobody told me this guy had a zoo in his closet.”
Suntrah got a metallic kick to the head and went down hard. Astricus stood over him, blade brandished, ready to finish the job.
“You fought well, my mortal foe,” he commended. “But as all disciples of Mata Nui are, you were doomed to fall from the beginning.”
Suntrah watched as the end descended upon him in the form of Astricus’s blade. He was unworried, however, for he sensed, through his mask, that salvation would come. That it did, in the form of a metal dart that struck Astricus’s hand, causing him to drop his weapon in surprise.
The dart’s master, the Hokanuka Slaryka, stepped out of the shadows to Suntrah’s right. “Mata Nui is overrated, but so are the Makuta, zealot,” he told Astricus.
Astricus clutched his injured hand and phased into the floor to evade Slaryka. The Hokanuka helped the Runask to his feet.
“Thanks for the save,” Suntrah said gratefully.
Slaryka turned away at once, his body language conveying that he had no wish to discuss matter further. His words, however, said, “You’re welcome, comrade. Tell no one.” He spotted Astricus retrieving his blade then, and left to fight him. Suntrah got the hint. The Hokanuka had made it inside the building. It was time for the leader of the Vindicators to go help his troops.
Using his mask, he was able to pinpoint the location of Levuku, Vohk, and Ferrak. Bruxnor had chased Vohk into a maintenance room, and since they had not been seen since, it was likely that Bruxnor was more than enough trouble for the three of them.
Suddenly the door of the maintenance room flew open. Ferrak lunged through it, heaving Bruxnor into the air even as he leaped into the air himself. The mighty Nurtox flipped Bruxnor upside-down in his grip as he flew through the air. Right as he landed, Ferrak brought Bruxnor down headfirst in a thundering piledriver. Suntrah at Ferrak. “I see you have your own problem taken care of. Come with me.”
Ferrak called to Levuku and Vohk and the followed Suntrah as he sought out Lohrua, Vaturi, and Panuko next. They were probably fighting the Skakdi and the female Runask, and, from what Suntrah already knew of Zortak, they could probably use some help.
When the finally located their three teammates, they were fighting in the fortress’s main room. Vaturi was sprawled on the ground, having just taken a blow from Zortak’s Ricochet Vision. Lohrua and Panuko were now having a hard time fighting off their opponents. It was all Lohrua could do to telekinetically halt Zortak’s machine gun rounds and Panuko put up a wall of quartz to shield himself from Myriax’s lightning.
Suntrah charged in and met Myriax’s reflexive lighting burst with his own black lightning, closing his eyes as he did. Myriax did not know to close her eyes, and the burst from the two powers colliding was enough to blind her temporarily. Ferrak’s fist did the rest.
Zortak tried to peel out, but Vohk met him with a kick that knocked him onto his backside. Ferrak grabbed the Skakdi’s arms, holding him in place, while Lohrua aimed his Zamor launcher at Zortak’s gun, neatly disassembling its component pieces and littering them all over the floor.
After knocking Zortak out as well, the party went to find the Toa Tronux. On the way, they accidentally ran into Garius and Zallirix fighting. Zallirix was merely trying to stay out of Garius’s way, while Garius was trying to land one crushing blow on his nimble opponent. Zallirix managed to lead Garius into one of Rularx’s new, high-tech doorways, though, and sliced the door controls. As Garius advanced, the door, now in safety mode, slammed shut, smashing Garius between two giant pieces of metal. He joined the group with a smile on his face. All Garius could do was curse as he tried in vain to wrest his flattened body free of the door.
“Hey, guys!” Lihee’s voice rang out. “Wait up!”
Wait they did, and they got to receive the five members of the Universal Alliance, each somewhat battered and out of breath but very alive. Suntrah put his fist out for Lihee to knock with his own.
“They give you a fight?” Suntrah asked.
“Like you wouldn’t believe,” Lihee answered. “Got the leader, Vissus, the third-in-command, Tehdak, and the robot. The robot we knocked out fast, but the other two gave us a serious challenge. They’re ranked highly in their team for a reason, let me tell you.”
“Anyone see Bultrox?” Suntrah asked. Everyone responded with variations of “no,” except for Zallirix.
“He was trying to help me take out the ugly one,” Zallirix replied, “But he left me to my fate, I guess. Jerk. I still won though, so hah.”
“Where did he go then?” Suntrah asked.
“I’ll tell you,” said Bultrox, coming up from behind. “I went looking for others who needed my help, but I couldn’t find anyone. I don’t know why, but I’ve been a bit bored because of that.”
Suddenly Suntrah got one of his feelings again. A robot was coming up from behind, prepared to fight. Lihee announced that it was the same one that he and his team had fought. The Vindicators prepared for battle, but a cry from Lohrua took them aback for moment.
“Guys!” he shouted. “We’ll never win against this thing. It’s running at its full ability, which is far faster than any of us can react to!”
“So if we fight it, it’ll kill us all before we can respond,” Suntrah concluded. Doing some fast thinking, he finally said, “Bultrox, sic!”
Bultrox smiled, readied his weapons, and charged in to fight the robot. Immediately the two erupted in fighting. At first, it looked hopeless for Bultrox. Dastrox was too fast and too fluid. As time went on, however, it became obvious that the robot was not doing Bultrox any permanent damage, as was to be expected. Thus, when the Vindicators left to find their teammates, they left in confidence of the outcome of that scuffle. Bultrox would reign victorious, and the robot would be in scattered bits on the floor.
When the majority of the Vindicators, the whole of the Universal Alliance, and Zallirix arrived in Tamrix’s room, it was to see pandemonium. Five massive, incredibly fierce Rahi had been unleashed on the Toa Tronux, with two Runask and a Varen fighting them as well. The Revolutionaries who were there fought with vary ferocities. The Varen seemed to think that this was not only his chance to prove how awesome he was, but it was a chance to show off his skill. The younger Runask fought with the intensity of an initiate, one with skill, and one with the aim to improve it. The other Runask fought with the intensity of someone who was no longer sure of what his reason for fighting was, but was sure that he had to anyway.
As soon as the mob of Order of Altronia agents swarmed in, however, the fact that all three of them were fighting at all was soon made false. They were defeated quickly by the new horde of reinforcements, and the Rahi were forced back into their cage before Bartha conjured some iron bars to keep them back there.
“Well, did we win?” Runik asked, out of breath.
“I believe we did, except for Bultrox, anyway,” Panuko answered.
“Where’s Bultrox?” Yurdil asked, concerned.
“Oh, he’s fighting a robot,” Levuku said, waving his hand. “Nothing to worry about.”
For once, everyone laughed at Levuku’s joke. He was exactly right. Still, Suntrah sent Ferrak and Thravak to check on their comrade while the rest of them began to fan out and search the room for anything useful to the Order of Altronia. There could be anything in a room like this, information, weapons, or some of Rularx’s inventions. They searched carefully, not wanting anything to go amiss.
“There’s nothing here,” said a weak voice.
Rewta, the only one who could hear the voice, whirled around in surprise. In front of her was Tamrix, on the floor, barely able to move, but looking right at her.
“Why should I trust you?” Rewta asked coldly.
“You probably shouldn’t,” Tamrix agreed. “But you should anyway. Rularx doesn’t give anything truly useful to any of his minions.”
Rewta sniffed. “Nice guy,” she said sarcastically.
Tamrix shook his head. “No. Not at all. He’s madman, Toa. A maniac. He’s out for glory, power, and fame. He cares for none but himself, and cannot be swayed from his ways.”
Rewta laughed once. “You honestly think any of the Makuta can be swayed from their ways?”
Tamrix shrugged. “I don’t know about the Makuta, but some of their minions can.”
Rewta turned in surprise, finally understanding. She was about to let Tamrix know that she understood him, but the world around her abruptly disappeared.
“Well, you twisted bucket of bolts,” Bultrox panted, his blade across Dastrox’s neck. “You put up a real good fight. Sorry to see such a fun punching bag go, but…” With that, he decapitated the mechanoid. The robot’s eyes blinked a few times before fading to black. Bultrox leaned on his sword, out of breath for the moment. Dastrox had fought Bultrox better than Bultrox had expected, and had dealt the Runask hundreds of injuries. At least for the moment, Bultrox needed to rest.
Thravak and Ferrak rounded the corner, ready to back their comrade up, and pleasantly surprised to see that that was not necessary. They walked to his side, Thravak looking Bultrox’s profusely dented armor up and down while Ferrak examined the fallen robot in a fit of nerdiness.
“You did good,” Thravak said to Bultrox.
“Rare words of praise from you,” Bultrox shot back with a smile.
Thravak nodded and slapped Bultrox on the back. “Yeah. Don’t get used to it.” The Runask rose to his feet just in time to see the world around him disappear in a dull flash.
When he could see again, he saw that he was alongside his teammates. He was lined up with them in Makuta Rularx’s command room, and with the Makuta present, no less. Judging from the determined faces of his teammates, Bultrox figured it was time to get to fighting.
That was when he noticed the force field around him. Each of his twenty allies were similarly afflicted, all trapped in their individual prisons, lined up for Rularx’s easy scrutiny.
Rularx looked them all over. His features contained a mix of frustration and satisfaction, as if he were annoyed that they had won but was pleased that they did, for that meant that things went according to plan. Why in the world the Makuta would have wanted them to win was beyond Bultrox, but one thing was sure. As long as they were trapped in these force fields, they could get a much-needed reprieve. Bultrox himself had already sat down.
Rularx looked to be preparing for a speech. He started it off, however, with a round of applause. The assembled heroes glanced at each other in confusion.
“Well done, my enemies,” Rularx said finally. He sighed. “It does in fact pain me that my prize team has fallen, but it does give me closure in the fact that my last few months of toil have not been in vain, for my enemies are worthy ones.”
“Come closer, obsidian-face,” Vohk retorted, “and I’ll show you just how formidable we can be!”
Rularx walked over to Vohk and leaned in close. “Careful what you wish for, brat,” he said. He paused. Then he shrugged, saying, “I don’t see any change in formidability. Perhaps you should not say every thought that pops into your dim, young mind.”
“See?” Ferrak piped up. “That’s what I’ve been telling you all this time!”
Vohk, for once, let that go without a retort. This was not the time for bickering, he realized, and when even Vohk realized that, it meant that the situation was vewry dire indeed.
Rularx enjoyed the banter, however, for he laughed. “Ah, yes. Such a fun chemistry. I knew there was something about you I liked. Don’t get me wrong. I still plan to kill you all without a second thought. I’m just saying you’re amusing.”
“Why must you be so sardonic?” Yurdil asked.
Rularx’s eyes glittered. “It’s the way I am, Toa. Get over it.”
“Why are you glad your enemies are formidable?” Choro asked. “I’d think you’d be glad to have morons for enemies, not competent people.”
“Why not have both?” Rularx asked. “I mean, look at you. Competent morons. I thought I’d never see the day. When I hoped for someone to be my prime competition, I never thought I’d strike it this rich!”
“Wait,” Lihee said. “Prime competition? Since when are we your prime competition?”
Rularx sighed. “I guess you want a story, then, don’t you? Very well.” He paused to pretend to take a breath for some unknown reason, then continued. “Years ago, many hears ago, me and several of my brothers were assigned by the great and miiiiiighty Teridax (he said “mighty” with an operatic lull to his voice) to conquer this particular section of the universe. With Burtok already the Makuta of this land at the time, it was a perfect fit. I was placed in charge of the coalition of Makuta, and given Burtok, Rayzok, Ikirro, and that filthy witch Cekadax as allies. Cekadax went off to do her own thing because she hated me. I was fine with that. I focused on leading my brothers in military ventures on my island and Ikirro’s land. I guided Burtok and Rayzok during their assault on their land, and I was the one who suggested that Burtok use a Dark Hunter to do some of his dirty work. Hilariously, that was one of the most effective moves her ever made.”
Levuku was boiling now. He glanced at Zallirix, then said, “I don’t think it was hilarious at all.”
Rularx chuckled. “It’s funny how things work out, though, isn’t it? I mean, with the Dark Hunter being among you and all? At any rate, I fished Jaykorax out of Destral fortress and sent him, along with Burtok’s stash of Scorpio-Spiders, to back him up on your this island way back when. Then I turned my mind to helping my brother and sister. Well, mostly my brother. I assumed that Burtok would have the “Crystal Island” captured soon, and that played well into my plans. We were to use Crystal Island as a base to launch a multi-faceted military excursion to assault Altronia Fortress. It was going to be awesome. We were going to lay it to waste and rain down apocalyptic death down on the land. The problem came when Burtok was seemingly killed while fighting you interlopers. Still, he turned up and helped Cekadax in battle anyway, so it all worked out. The fact that she was wasted at the hands of that Hokanuka lieutenant helped, too. That really brightened my day when I got the news from my brother. I figured that as long as I couldn’t use the island of Altronia as my capital city I might as well take over Burtok’s old home and try to fulfill some of my ends there. And here I am. The point obviously being that you and your team, be it in the context of a spontaneously arising renegade team or as members of the Order of Altronia, always are getting in my way. You are the ones who always seem to be giving me the most grief. Thus, you are my primary competition.”
Runik nodded. “And it would seem you are ours.”
Rularx laughed for a long time. “Isn’t that wonderful! How satisfying to have a fitting final confrontation with my enemies! You will get to watch as I create a new world order, where all will unconditionally, and willingly, do my will.”
“Don’t you mean the will of the ‘mighty Teridax?’” Rupiku corrected.
Rularx stalked over to Rupiku’s force field and leaned in close. “No, stupid Matoran. I mean my will. You honestly don’t thing I give Karzahni’s skidplate about that weasel’s ideals. He can kiss my heel for all I care.”
Rularx’s prime competition reeled in shock. Makuta Rularx, seemingly a sword subject of the Brotherhood of Makuta, had just openly declared himself guilty of treason in the highest order.
The Makuta pulled back from Rupiku and addressed the whole assemblage again. “No, I do not intend for Teridax to be a part of my world order, if you get my meaning. I feel he is unnecessary, for I have already proven myself superior to him.”
“You defeated him in battle?” Bartha asked, surprised.
Rularx grinned. “No, I did not prove myself worthy in that manner. Admittedly, I probably could not even if I wanted to. Even so, I feel intelligence is a far better way to judge one’s fitness for universal governorship.”
Vaturi snorted. “Really. You honestly outwitted Teridax? Really?”
Rularx turned slowly to meet her gaze. “Yes, I have. I have concocted a better Plan than he ever could. And mine is better because it actually accomplishes the goal of us Makuta’s rebellion.”
The heroes did not need a review on that little bit of information. It was no secret that the Makuta coveted the worship of the inhabitants of the universe, which was always given to Mata Nui, even though they felt it rightfully belonged to them.
“Teridax wants the Matoran’s praise, loyalty, and adoration,” Rularx said. “He fails to realize, however, that enslaving them will never net him those results no matter how many of them he kills. Sure, they’ll obey him, but it will never be the way he wanted them to. They will obey out of fear, not out of loyalty. Teridax has lost sight of the goal. In my Plan, however, I have a better strategy. I want to see all the little Matoran flock to me in gratitude for all the wonderful things I do for them. First I will introduce myself. I will use my powers to benefit them in some way, like bring rain during a drought, or command vicious Rahi to obey the Matoran’s whims. Something along those lines. Then, when the Toa or whoever come to try to defeat me, the Matoran will side with me. They will love me. They will always side with me. And thus, when I destroy my enemies, they will think it to be a just end.”
Suntrah snorted. “You’ll never fool everyone forever,” he argued.
Rularx shook his head “Like I said, competent morons.” He pointed to his mask. “Do you know that this is?” he asked.
Suntrah nodded. “Your inflated head?” he guessed.
“Yes, but what is on it?” Rularx prodded.
“Your Kanohi mask,” Suntrah said.
“Yes,” Rularx replied with slight exasperation. “But its type is what I’m going for. It’s Mask of Charisma. With this, I have the ability to convince people of my validity. Given enough time, I can even turn my greatest critic into a staunch proponent of my philosophy.”
Suddenly, the light dawned on Suntrah’s face. “So you can fool everyone forever.”
Rularx nodded and folded his arms, his wings spreading slightly in pride. “Of course I can. You honestly didn’t think I would create this whole complicated plan without making sure the device could be relied upon, did you?”
A tremor shocked the whole building. Rularx whirled around to face a control console behind him. Tapping a button, he disabled his viewscreen’s screen saver.
“Aw, dang it!” Vohk pouted. “That was awesome!”
Rularx ignored him, tapping other buttons at a rapid pace. An image appeared of Order of Altronia troops managing to punch through the force field around the fortress and now dealing damage to the structure itself. They would be inside before long.
“Why?” Suntrah asked.
Rularx glanced over his shoulder casually. “Why what?”
“Why did you tell us all this?” Suntrah clarified. “You know that this will not hold us forever. We will escape.”
“Naturally,” Rularx agreed.
“And we will return to fight you again,” Suntrah added.
“Undoubtedly,” Rularx conceded.
“And when we do, we will be armed with all this new information thanks to the fact that you just gave it to us out of the blue. Why does that not bother you?”
Rularx turned slowly. His nonchalant smile was chilling. “I wanted my enemies to finally know exactly who they were fighting. It’s so lame when you don’t direct all your hatred, all your animosity, toward me. It seems more like I’m pranking you rather than fighting you earnestly if I just hide behind my subordinates.”
Another tremor. This one seemed to be stronger. Surely the forces of Altronia were nearly inside. Rularx had to realize that.
He apparently did, for he turned to leave. Rewta’s voice stopped him.
“Tamrix was right,” she said.
Rularx stopped, apparently surprised by the statement. “That filthy miser?” he asked. “What of value did he have to say?”
Rewta locked eyes with Rularx. “He was right about you. You are a madman. You are insane. You are out of control, on the rampage, and you can never be swayed. It was all true. I thought it would be, but I never guessed how true it might be. You, Makuta, are a hopeless wreck.”
Rularx snorted and dismissed Rewta with a gesture. “Females!” he admonished. “Always trying to be in the right, always getting emotionally involved in things they can’t change. Such a waste of matter.” With that, he exited the chamber.
Rewta fumed, electricity sparkling down her frame. “Okay,” she said through closed teeth. “Next time I see him, he’s getting cooked big time.”
“Speaking of cooked,” Lohrua piped up. He gestured to Thravak and Bultrox. Everyone looked. The two of them had their tools placed against their respective force fields, discharging energy into the fields. The barriers were holding, but the generators maintaining the fields were not faring so well. In a few moments, the generators overheated and the two of them were free. Just as Suntrah had predicted, it was not long before all the heroes and Zallirix were free. They wasted no time in exiting the chamber.
Except Lohrua, that is. “Wait up, guys,” he called from the control room. “Check this out.”
The heroes and Zallirix looked, and what they saw was shocking. Rularx was booting up something huge. “What is it, Lohrua?” Suntrah asked.
“A huge version of the Time Dilation Accelerator. It’s aimed at the island itself!” He looked back at his teammates. “Guys, it’s gonna warp this whole island to who knows where!”
“Crud,” Lihee said emphatically.
“That’s…a bit of a problem,” Suntrah agreed.
“Why? Vohk asked. “Here or there, same situation for Rularx.”
Runik shook his head. “No, it’s not. Here, the Order of Altronia can easily fall back to their fortress and recuperate. Far away, however, perhaps even away from any civilized land, they can’t. They will be forced to fight to the bitter end, with no hope of escape, assuming they don’t all flee when they see what is happening to the island.”
“Not only that,” Suntrah added, “But with the ability to warp his island around, besides being able to escape capture and military attacks, Rularx will have yet another way to impress unsuspecting civilizations and convince them that he is their hero.”
“Oh,” Vohk said. He said nothing more.
Outside the fortress, Faxhuun’s eyes widened. “Are you seeing that?” he asked Liakatus beside him.
Liakatus nodded. “Yes,” he said. “And I am just as surprised as you.”
Recvak smashed his opponent to the ground and looked as well. He turned back to his allies and said, “Well, I recommend a retreat.”
Faxhuun nodded. “I agree.”
A massive, gun-like machine had suddenly emerged from the fortress, revealed as a pair of walls slid out of its way. With a mechanical groan, it pointed it’s tapered end at the island and began to conjure a massive quantity of energy at its tip. Waves of energy cascaded down on Crystal Island, opening up a massive portal that slowly began to swallow the landmass whole.
The leader of the Order of Altronia pulled his forces back, under pain that they be pulled into the interdimensional vortex that Rularx’s giant machine was creating. The vast majority managed to fall back, but a few straggler were sucked in, along with the fortress, its occupants, and the whole island. The Order of Altronia gathered in its fleet of ships and watched as an entire mountain of earth was drawn into another realm in the blink of an eye.
The battle was over. The Makuta had gone to who knew where, and taken his minions with him. When the troops returned to Altronia Fortress, a census was held to see whom they had lost to the vortex. Among those missing from their ranks were the Vindicators and the Universal Alliance. All around the complex the troops scurried, prepared, and gathered arms for a large-scale sweep of the universe to locate the missing island. They would find their comrades and crush the Makuta if it was the last thing they did. Many long months of travel lay ahead of them, but it was for good. Thus, none of the troops gave a second thought as they prepared for a long, long journey.