• Published 30th Nov 2016
  • 1,409 Views, 73 Comments

The Legend, Rebuilt - Caldoric



A tale in which a human is Displaced, and charged with managing the progression of both Equestria and the Bionicle universe. And, to top it all off, all is not as peaceful as it seems...

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... And even more problems!

On an unobtrusive ledge,
Above the Lava Lake around Ta-Koro:

Ian sat uneasily, idly stroking Jinka's purring form as he contemplated what to do next. He had to hear what was going on at that meeting, but... how?

He glared down at the village stronghold, trying to come up with a plan that wouldn't get him noti-- hey, was that a secondary bridge coming out the side of the Koro? Yeah, that might work... He thought, and if both MNOG 2 and the Mask of Light movie were anything to go by, it led straight to the courtyard...!

Yes, now he had a plan, of sorts. But only two issues remained. First came the part about getting past the guard posted at said rear entrance without being spotted, and second, there was the issue of what to do with Jinka, as energetic and excitable as the Rahi seemed to be.

Wait... in Homestuck, didn't John temporarily store that salamander kid in his Sylladex without any I'll effects? Ian wondered. Yeah, he did do that... and the whole "becoming a necromancer" thing was really Rose's fault anyways. Well, it seems plan "B" is a go!

"Hey, Jinka?" Ian asked, turning to his companion.

Rrrrt? the Hikaki purred, lazily.

"I'm gonna do something real quick, and it might freak you out, but I promise it's gonna be temporary." Ian continued. "In fact, you might not even notice it at all! Call it an experiment."

Jinka seemed excited at the prospect... or maybe he was just picking up on Ian's tone of voice.

"Good boy. Now, hold still...!" And, with a bit of mental effort, he just sort of... reached over and... kinda...

Suddenly, Jinka was on a card in Ian's Sylladex, ready to be deployed at a moment's notice. "Sweet," Ian said, turning his focus to the tunnel, "now to wait for the--" He vanished in a blink of light, reappearing inside the smaller, secondary tunnel into the Koro just after the guard turned away from it.

"--Opportune moment..." He quietly finished, and did his best to sneak forward to the courtyard entrance. Carefully lying on his belly, so as not to make any more sound than necessary, he listened in to the conversation as it unfolded.

"... received information from back home, in Equestria. During the last, oh, week and a half that we've been on this island with you guys -- thanks for taking us in, by the way..." --There were mumbled reassurances at this-- "the Princesses back home have been pouring every spare moment they can into trying to find us a way back, or even opening a gateway between our two worlds..."

~~~~
Inside the courtyard...

"Ah don' know, sugarcube," AJ said, adjusting her Stetson, "that sounds like askin' fer trouble, since we got oursel's a war on both sides. Wouldn' that jes' be another liability?"

"Indeed," added Kopaka, "would not the dark forces of both sides seek to wrest control it from us, and form an alliance of their own?"

"Yes, yes, they've already considered that!" Twilight exclaimed. "In fact, it seems they've had somepony trying to sneak in and sabotage the project! But if we can get even one of the other Princesses onto this side of the mirror, we could take out Makuta in a heartbeat, then we could all hop back over to Equestria and turn the tide!"

There was a burst of whistles, clicks and grunts from one of the shorter white figures who were present, whose name was Nuju. Seconds later, his translator, a Matoran named Matoro, stepped forward to make his Turaga's thoughts clear.

"Um, Nuju says, 'hold on a minute, how do we know it isn't a trap?'"

"Quite right," agreed Onewa, the Turaga of Stone, "how can we tell if we're playing right into their hands or not?"

"Tally-count me in, Twilight-cousin!" Added Lewa, whose attention had begun wandering again, as was normal.

"I agree, Princess." Tahu agreed. "A decisive strike could be the deciding factor in our fight against the Makuta's tyranny. The sooner we do it, the better."

Gali, the blue-armored Toa of Water, shook her head. "I myself am not so sure, brother. Perhaps we should stick to our original plan, and seek our Masks of Power first?" Nokama, the Turaga of Gali's village, nodded her own agreement.

"Or perhaps," Kopaka interjected coldly, "we should ask our uninvited guest." With a flick of his wrist, a beam of ice shot into the shadows of the tunnel to the back exit, eliciting a cry of surprise from its hidden occupant. With a second motion, the Ice Toa created a chute that brought the now-bound Caldoric to the group's feet. As all of them could see, his entire body was covered in fully opaque ice, save for his mouth and nose. "He might have the answers we seek."

"Or I could be freezing my metaphorical balls off in here! Let me out!" Caldoric nearly shouted. Fortunately, he'd had the foresight to inhale as he was frozen, affording himself room to breathe.

"Amazing, brother!" Pohatu exclaimed in admiration. "But... how did you know?"

"Mask powers," Kopaka said simply.

"Oh... right." Came Pohatu's sheepish reply.

"You...!" Rainbow finally spat at the captive eavesdropper, as she began to advance on him.

"Dash, no." Twilight interjected, sticking a foreleg in front of her angry friend. "I'll deal with him."

"Let's not get too hasty," Caldoric said, cautiously, "the thing I hit you with was just a toy, not intended to do any harm. And, in my defense, it was you guys who spazzed me out."

"Oh? I beg to differ." Rainbow countered. "It seemed to me like both of your little 'episodes,' so-called, were completely unprovoked."

"Bull shit!" Caldoric replied, causing the Equestrians to flinch. "I only dropped the Bruteshot because someone hit me with one of those Kanoka disks of yours. It's not my fault that it went off when it hit the ground."

"I've had enough of this," Tahu said, walking off. "Find me when something interes--"

With a loud ker-RACK! the ice around Caldoric shattered, sending fragments everywhere. Caldoric himself gave a heavy gasp, and pushed himself into a sitting position.

"How'd you do that?" Twilight and Kopaka demanded, simultaneously.

"Dunno," Caldoric answered, "I think I tapped into my elemental powers, somehow, though I'm not really sure."

"Great," Kopaka said shortly, massaging the spot between his mask's eyeholes, "he's one of mine."

"No, I'm not Ice. I'm Space."

"What?" Came the unanimous reply. Caldoric sighed.

"Fine... why don't I just tell you my plans, my darkest secrets, and my entire life story?" He snapped, sarcastically. "It'll make things so much easier..."

"Oooh, that sounds fun-pleasant!" Lewa chimed, having finally rejoined the conversation.

"I know, right?" Agreed Pinkie. "Good thing I brought popcorn!"

"I must agree as well," said Vakama as he hobbled over, in his traditional form once more.

"Ah, brother!" Matau, the Turaga of Air, finally exclaimed. "Long time since we last had word-song from you in bright-home Le-Koro, smelt-head! Why the dark-frown earlier?"

Vakama smiled slightly, and rested a hand on Jala's shoulder. "Memories, old friend, of when we were younger... if you still remember, that is." All six Turaga grew a little stern at this, but only momentarily.

"Ok, hate to break up the skull session," Caldoric finally said, breaking the awkward silence, "but can we get back to the original topic of discussion? Like, how you Equestrians got here in the first place? I mean, I may be new here, but I'm pretty sure that whatever message you guys got is somewhat time-sensitive, yes?"

"Yes, but not so much so that we can't hear your side of things first," Twilight countered.

Caldoric deadpanned. "Alright, if that's how you want it... I was at a convention back home, dressed in a homemade costume that looked pretty much like I do now, minus a few details, and then I bought some crap off this one vendor, and then I'm suddenly dropped here on Mata Nui. Next thing I know, I'm being attacked by a giant Ranama, then I encounter Jala and Skittles over here out on patrol, the latter of which knocks me out. And I'm pretty sure I have a concussion, too. Then I'm here in Ta-Koro, and you all show up. The end."

"That..." said Takua, "was rather shorter than I expected." There were murmurs of assent from the group before Twilight spoke up.

"Yeah, I half hoped you'd be more forthcoming with your metaphorical résumé, considering that you're at our mercy."

Ian deadpanned again. "Really? I was just summarizing my own stuff so you all could get the more pressing matter hashed out sooner. If you want more info out of me, it'll have to wait till after your own shit's handled. And don't go skimping on too many details just because I did the same. But, for everyone's sake, just assume I know the identity of anybody you mention by name, or of any important events that cropped up before you arrived. I'll ask, if I need clarification." The rest of their little group shared glances all around before Twilight spoke again.

"... Fine. But I expect your full cooperation afterwards."

"Ehhh, I'll see what I can do."

And so, with this shaky alliance formed, the Equestrian visitors begun to relay their tale.

~~~~
Equestria;
Roughly three months ago.

It had been about a month and a half since Lord Thorax peaceably seized control of Chrysalis' hive, and the political fallout of the whole situation was still settling. Scouting parties had been sent out, in hopes of finding and capturing the errant Queen, but all they had met with were rumors and ghost tales. Then, after a month of fruitless searching, she finally made her presence known, in the heart of the Crystal Kingdom itself.

This time, however, things were different: not only had she located, freed, and allied herself with Sombra in the intervening month, she had also gathered a small contingent of Changeling "sleeper cells" who were still loyal to her. These had been augmented by Sombra's own home-made, mind-controlled forces.

Both forces were devastating and efficient in concert, as evidenced by the successful and highly demoralizing "smash-and-grab" operations they performed within the icebound city. The last of these was by far the most disheartening and detrimental, for it had culminated in the abduction of the Crystal Heart itself, as well as the daughter of Shining Armor and Princess Mi Amore Cadenza: Flurry Heart.

Twilight, Shining, and Cadence were the most harshly affected by this, with the former Captain of the Royal Guard swearing a frightening oath of vengeance. But, without the power of the Crystal Heart to protect the ancient city, it was soon abandoned to the onslaught of the Northern ice, with everyone barely making it out in time.

So fell the Crystal Kingdom, as the former citizens sought refuge in the town of Ponyville, the home of their savior: Spike, the dragon.

For the next week, no news was to be had about either the young Flurry's whereabouts or well-being. Almost to add insult to injury, neither hide nor hair of the evil forces had been seen, despite the best efforts of the Night and Day guard, as well as the Wonderbolts. There was, however, one night where the Timberwolves seemed unusually active, making an ungodly racket all throughout the Everfree Forest, with a few even going so far as to tear through nearby townships and villages without rhyme or reason.

The next day, Twilight and the other inhabitants of Ponyville had awoken to find the head of a local friend of theirs, a zebra named Zecora, mounted on a pike in the town square. Attached to it was a declaration of war, written in the unfortunate mare's own blood, and signed by a being calling themselves "Chrystalla."

~~~~
Ta-Koro courtyard
Now

"Whoa whoa whoa, Chrystalla? Who's this douchebag supposed to be?"

Everyone gave Caldoric a dirty look for his interruption.

"What?" He asked, shrugging. "I don't remember there being anyone named 'Chrystalla' running around in your world... Unless they were featured in one of the more cringeworthy episodes that I skipped. Long story. But please, carry on." Twilight glared a little longer, then resumed speaking.

"After that... unfortunate incident was cleaned up, and a copy of the note had been sent to my former mentor, the seven of us went to Zecora's hut to recover her body and give her a proper funeral. But what we saw there..." Twilight shuddered, and looked away. Applejack and pinky moved to comfort her, while Rarity somehow managed to look paler than usual at the reawakened memory. Spike just adopted a horrified expression, staring absently at his claws.

It was here that Rainbow took over. "Yeah, it wasn't pretty. Not even close." She looked Caldoric in the eye, her voice shaking. "See, they didn't just kill her outright. No, they tortured her. There were, like, these black crystal things shot right through her entire body at wierd angles, pinning it to the floor, with these two sword-like ones that were crossed at the point where her neck used to be. Like, they went and executed her. And, get this, not all the crystals were Sombra's!" The Toa and Turaga, as well as what few Matoran had gathered to listen in, looked visibly sick.

"Yeah," added Twilight, still a little vacant, "some of them matched the physical description Thorax and Starlight Glimmer gave of what Chrysalis' hive-throne had been made of."

"Ok, I honestly half expected that," Caldoric added, "so... what else happened there? Was anything else missing, besides her head?"

"That's the worst part. There was something missing: an ancient dark artifact that she'd been allowed to hide and protect after an incident in town a year or two ago. It's called the 'Alicorn Amulet--' "

"MOTHER FUCKERS!" Caldoric shouted, punching the cobbled ground beneath him. "But how would they-- unless... but why would they want it...?" He turned his attention back to the present, and addressed the Equestrians in general. "I've got the beginnings of a theory, but... I need to know what happened next."

"We was ambushed." Applejack said, matter-of-factly. "At first, we thought they was some sorta Changelin's, like the ones what bested us up North. Then it turned out they was somethin' else entirely: 'ling-shaped monsters, but made outta constantly shifting black crystal shards, held t'gether with green gas, like them Timberwolves were. Strange thing was, we hadn't seen a single wolf before then, which was odd, b'cause we'd normally see at least three or four any time we'd gone in before."

"Yeah, they mostly seemed interested in Spike, though," Pinkie added, "but I couldn't have guessed why, even if you asked."

Caldoric steepled his fingers, as the Turaga and Toa shared furtive glances. This was getting... interesting.

~~~~
Equestria;
One month and three weeks ago

Once Twilight and company had fought off the "shardlings," they returned to town with Zecora's body, and a funeral was held for her. However, the proceedings were crashed by Trixie, who'd dragged herself into town, half dead herself, covered in cuts and bruises. Just before she'd collapsed from exhaustion, she'd delivered a grave message: that not only had she and Starlight Glimmer both been abducted by Chrystalla's forces, but that this strange entity was none other than Chrysalis herself, having returned with a vengeance.

After that, Thorax and his people decided to go into hiding, while Trixie was transferred to the nearest hospital, where she remained catatonic for the next two weeks.

The days following Trixie's arrival heralded the first of many attacks from the Shardlings, forcing towns and villages nationwide to fall back to more defensible locations, which grew few and far between. Not much could take down these monstrous beings, and anything that did work was too expensive to recreate on a massive scale. The dwindling threads of communication with neighboring lands and sovereignties indicated them to be in similar situations, until contact was cut off completely.

Eventually, everyone who could make the journey retreated to Canterlot, which was once more encased in a defensive bubble-shield, powered by the strongest and most able magic-wielders available. And then, one week before Twilight and her friends would arrive on Mata Nui, Discord vanished without a trace while on a reconnaissance mission.

Six days later, Twilight and her friends had decided to try and make contact with their counterparts on the other side of the Crystal Mirror, which they'd brought during the evacuation of Ponyville. Their hopes, however, were in vain, for it was at that moment that the Shardling army made their attack on the capitol city, bursting through the shield like it was nothing. Chaos reigned over the next 24 hours as the crystalline enemy rampaged through the streets, blasting innocent citizens with dark magic at every turn. Some were turned to crude, obsidian-like statues, or piles of black crystals. Others, mostly the young or strong, became new Shardlings, and joined the rest in wanton destruction.

In a last-ditch effort, Celestia, Luna, Cadence, and the Element Bearers sought out the mirror. However, when they arrived, they found Discord himself waiting for them, wearing a set of Sombra's mind-control armor. The gems on the mirror's outside edge had changed colors as well, though no one yet knew what that had meant. And with naught but an evil cackle and a wave of his hand, Discord tossed Twilight and her friends through the mirror, then turned to face off against the remaining Alicorns.

When the seven Equestrians awoke, they found themselves scattered across the island of Mata Nui, and soon stumbled across the local Matoran population. For the next week, they worked alongside the Toa in defending the villages, all while seeking a way back home.

And then today, Caldoric had arrived, nearly injuring Jala in his own quest to get home...

~~~~
Ta-Koro
Now

"And so, that brings us to... now..." Twilight trailed off, snapping out of lecture mode long enough to notice Caldoric pacing randomly while idly fiddling with something in his hands, his eyes unfocused. "Are you even listening to me?"

"Hmm?" Caldoric asked, his focus immediately shifting back to her. "Oh, yeah. Sorry, I've got ADH--"

"No, you weren't listening at all!" She exclaimed, incensed. "You were walking around and playing with that thing in your hand for the last five minutes!"

"Yes, I was too listening!" Caldoric countered, before rattling off an extremely summarized version of her tale. "Now, if you had allowed me to explain, instead of trying to imitate my parents on a bad day, you would've learned that I have trouble sitting still for extended periods of time. When I'm taking in information verbally, I tend to zone out on all my other senses, and occasionally get fidgety as well. Thus, the pacing and vacant look, as well as the thing I was 'playing around with,' as you so rudely put it." He held up the small black-and-green cube for inspection.

"This is called a 'Fidget Cube,' designed to help folks who have problems focusing, like myself. It gives my hands things to do while I'm thinking, or trying to pay attention to someone who's talking." He then began idly fiddling with the device again, taking a moment to collect his thoughts.

"Sounds like something a certain Toa of Air might find useful..." Kopaka quipped, eliciting laughs from all around, and a half-hearted protest from Lewa.

"Yeah," Caldoric continued, "just don't let Le-Koro find out about kazoos, or we'll never sleep again. Anyways, I was rolling a few ideas around in my head while you were getting everyone up to speed. However, we still haven't heard the details about this message you supposedly got from your homeland."

"Yeah, that's the whole reason we're here!" Pinkie added, and Caldoric deadpanned.

"Oh, right, the message..." Twilight began rooting around in the small saddlebags built into her armor. As she did so, Caldoric noted that the Turaga had all moved off to one side, and were apparently entrenched in a heated discussion. Before he could look into it, Twilight finally located the message she had been looking for, which was revealed to be a scroll. Using her magic, she unfurled the ribbon seal and held it up to be read.

Dearest Twilight, and friends,

Luna, Cadence, and I have dealt with Chrystalla's forces, which have retreated beyond the city limits, and a barrier has been erected that now separates them and us. Discord is once again back to normal, and fights alongside those of us that remain in Canterlot.

With his help, and a little luck, we have been able to partially re-create what he did to send you to your current location, allowing us to temporarily re-open the mirror and send this message through. We have had some interference from a few remaining pockets of opposition, which are disturbingly resistant to our efforts to stamp them out. Despite their best efforts, however, we should have a stable, two-way transit working by tomorrow, so make whatever preparations you can to return home.

We anxiously await your arrival, so that we can move forward together in these troubled times.

Sincerely, Princess Celestia

"See?" Asked Twilight, as the other Equestrians began to rejoice. "How's that for an explanation?"

Caldoric carefully took the scroll, and looked it over carefully. "I don't know," he said, after a moment, "it seems... off, somehow."

"Yeah!" Said Pinkie, popping up behind Caldoric. "Doesn't she usually start with 'my dearest and most faithful student,' or something?"

"Well, we've all been under a lot of stress, what with the war and such," replied Twilight, somewhat unconvincingly, "and besides, I technically haven't been her student since I became an Alicorn Princess."

"Nevertheless," Caldoric continued, stubbornly, "one doesn't just drop a term of endearment that they've used for years without very good reason, and wars are the kind of time where you hold tighter to such things, in case it's the last chance to tell them 'I love you', yes? And besides, this whole thing feels wrong... So, if I know the Narrative Imperative Theory as well as I think I do, then this whole thing is probably a--"

"Ah think that's enough a' yer neigh-sayin', mister," Applejack said, placing a hoof on his hip. "You got some explainin' t' do." Caldoric leveled a soft glare at her, and returned to fiddling with his Cube.

"Fine. I come from a world called Earth, where we humans are the dominant species, though we're not the Technicolor menagerie you've come to know and love, Twilight." He turned to the gathered islanders for a moment. "Bipedal beings similar to you Toa, only we're completely organic, and we don't have elemental powers or armor. Also, the average adult is between 5 and 6 feet tall, whereas you all are about 7.2 feet tall on average." After which, he gave everyone present a rundown of what he'd told Tahu and Rainbow Dash about their worlds being mere stories in his home reality, adding details about the popularity of the Bionicle line, and controversial social stigmas surrounding guys his age and the MLP fandom.

"So, you're one of the... 'Bro-knees,' I believe you called them?" Onua asked.

"No! Noooo, no no no." Caldoric stammered. "I merely know -- or, well, knew, I guess, -- a small group of folks who were, though, so I decided to look into the series so that I'd better understand some of the things they said. Research would be the most accurate term here, I believe. And, yes, I did join in on some of their fanfictions, mostly for the heck of it, and it was kinda fun."

"Sounds like someone's in denial," Rainbow commented to Pinkie, who snickered.

"No, I'm not," Caldoric said, matter-of-factly, "I'm here in Ta-Koro, on Mata Nui. The Nile River is in Egypt, back on my home planet, which is in another dimension."

There were a couple of chuckles, but the joke mostly went over everyone's head.

"What I think my brother was saying," Gali eventually said, "is that, because you are familiar with our two worlds, you might have advance knowledge of what's to come, do you not?"

"Nope. As I mentioned earlier, there's been cross-contamination between the two timelines, at rather pivotal moments for each. See, I never really caught much past the season 6 finale, when Thorax did his thing and took over from Chrysalis, so this is all new." Caldoric turned his attention to the Toa and Turaga. "Whereas with you guys... This point is barely past the starting point, so the whole gorram timeline's pretty much humped."

"Then why were you saying something was off about the letter, if you've not seen any of this before, darling?" Rarity asked.

"Forget it..." Ian countered. "It's probably me being overly suspicious after Twilight's story. But we should still help the Toa get as many of the rest of their Kanohi before we try anything."

"We've already gotten almost all of them," Pohatu supplied, "all that's left are two of mine, and one of Tahu's."

"So, what are we waiting for?" The Toa of Fire demanded, impatiently. "Let's go get them!"

"Wait, which one are you missing, Tahu?"

"The Great Mask of Water Breathing." He crossed his arms proudly.

Lewa shuddered slightly, muttering something along the lines of "still getting water-yuck out of my ears."

"And that just so happens to be one of mine, as well," the Toa of Stone added. "The other is the Great Mask of X-Ray Vision."

"Any idea where they all are?"

"Yes, Pinkie told us that she saw the latter of the three in a tree, somewhere in Le-Wahi." Twilight added. "The others are guarded by Rahi. One in Po-Wahi, and the other somewhere in Ko-Wahi."

"Right, it's settled then," Tahu decided, standing up, "Gali, Onua, Caldoric, Pinkamena, and I will journey to Le-Wahi. Pohatu, Lewa, Spike, and Kopaka will go to Po-Wahi, and the rest will take Ko-Wahi. Let's go, Pinkie! Everyone else, meet us back here when you've got your mask!"

"Sounds good, sir," Rainbow Dash agreed, along with most of the Equestrians.

"Yay! Road trip!" The hyper party-mare cried, abruptly dressed in a Hawaiian T-shirt, and carrying a briefcase.

"Brother," Gali began, probably about to argue the wisdom of dividing their forces in such a way, only to have her arm grabbed by Pinkie, whilst Tahu did the same with Caldoric. Seconds later, they were practically being dragged through the front gates of Ta-Koro, with Onua following at a distance and shaking his head in laughter. Then, with a final cry of "help!" from Caldoric, they were gone.

Kopaka scowled, and pinched the bridge of his Mask. "That fool is going to get someone killed one day..." He grumbled.

"Oh, don't worry, Kopaka," Twilight replied, comfortingly, "he's just new to the whole leadership thing. I should probably give him a few pointers later, if he's be willing."

"Personally, I think Gali should be the one in charge," Kopaka quipped, "since she's the least impulsive of us, short of Onua."

"I, um, I agree with you, uh, Kopaka..." Fluttershy stated, shyly. "She's also less, um, imposing. And more gentle, and, ah, better with the less -- *gulp* -- dangerous animals around here, while I have a, uh, hard time establishing a connection with even a tiny... Hoto Bug, I think?"

Kopaka raised an eyebrow. "And here I thought you were the one who befriended a rampaging Muaka, and those jungle cats are nothing to be trifled with."

"Oh, he just had something stuck in his paw, that was all. They're really just big softies, if you get to know them."

"Or if you've got a Stare that can stun even Discord into submission..." Added Rainbow. "Come on, gals, let's get that Mask! Last one there is a rusty horseshoe!" With that, she took off into the skies. Everyone else rolled their eyes and set off through the gate, after Tahu and his companions, splitting into two groups as they left.

With nothing else to do, Takua wandered off once more, Jala returned to his post, and the Turaga decided to continue their discussion in Vakama's hut. It looked like it was going to take a while.

~~~~
Later,
Somewhere in Le-Wahi:

"... And that's how I saved Ponyville from the Parasprite invasion!" Pinkie Pie declared, carelessly bouncing her way through the jungle.

"I know, Pinkie," Ian replied, with his shoulders hunched and his face set into a semi-permanent glower. "I saw the episode."

"I still find it disturbing that we are all originally just the product of someone else's imagination." Gali mused. "Is this real life, or is this just fantasy?"

"♪Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality!♪" Pinkie sang, causing Ian to facepalm.

"♪Open your eyes, look up to the skies and seeeeeeeeee...!♪" Onua added as he shaded his eyes, his deep voice surprisingly soothing when raised in song.

"Enough!" Ian and Tahu shouted together. Ian swatted at a bug, while Tahu fumed slightly.

"How close are we?" The impatient Toa of Fire finally asked, after another minute.

"Oh, it's right there!" The party mare said, pointing a foreleg almost straight up a nearby tree.

Gali nodded. "It is a Kanohi Akaku," she confirmed, "though it seems stuck in the topmost knot of this tree. Too bad brother Lewa isn't here to play monkey for us."

"This much is true," admitted Onua. "Sister, you possess the Mask of Levitation, yes? Do you think you could make use of it here?"

"I could most definitely try." Gali stared up at the mask, obviously considering her options. "I haven't had much chance to practice with it, though."

"I've got some rock climbing experience, so I'd be more than willing to try climbing this tree," Ian added, perking up, "if you'd let me borrow your hooks, that is."

Tahu let out an explosive sigh of impatience. "Look," he griped, "we don't have all day for this. Why don't we try an easier way?" Intent on following up on his own suggestion, Tahu leveled his blade at the tree.

With numerous cries that amounted to "No!", everyone else surged forward, but they were too late. As the shouts tore through their mouths, a raging inferno shot from the crimson weapon and enveloped the tree. Seconds later, the entirety of the once-green trunk was reduced to a much thinner pillar of charcoal. Only the Mask remained untouched by the flames, falling to the ground with a puff of embers. Several other objects landed nearby, throwing up bigger clouds of cinders.

Onua rushed forward to reclaim the mask, while Ian followed close behind, grabbing the remaining items. What in the ruttin' sphincter of hell was he thinking? The former human thought to himself. He could've flambéed the entire jungle!

Indeed, there were still flames licking away at some of the upper branches of other nearby trees. Then, out of nowhere, a full-on deluge came down, surprising Ian and effectively extinguishing all the runaway fires.

"Many thanks, sister," he heard Tahu say as Onua squinted up at the clouds, "I hadn't thought that the fire would spread."

"Right," Gali snapped, her tone suddenly colder than Ian had ever known. "I suppose you also didn't think about the birds that called that tree their home, or the plants and animals that relied on it for shade. In other words: You. Didn't. Think." The Toa of Water emphasized each of her final three words with a sharp jab to her brother's chest, before turning and stalking off the way they'd come.

"Ooooohh..." Pinkie groaned, wincing. "Looks like I've got a new side project."

"Side project?" Tahu snapped, curtly.

"Yeah," she replied, brow furrowing, "the main one being Caldoric-Mac-Grumpy-Gills."

"Oi!" Ian retorted in a semi-scottish accent, stowing the bundle of weapons he'd picked up, "ah'll gi' ye a face full'a dandruff ye'll nae forget, if ye dinnae stop tha'!"

"Crivens, he speaks Nac Mac Feegle!" Pinkie exclaimed in surprise.

"Let's just leave, before I go stupid or something," Tahu demanded.

"I second that," Onua agreed, "but for different reasons."

"Carried," Ian groaned, running a hand over his rain-wet mask, then set off after Gali.

~~~~
That evening,
Ta-Koro:

Ian was chilling by himself next to the Koro's Suva, which was a sort of shrine dedicated to Tahu, and was supposedly symbolic of his strength and power. It was also where Tahu's "sword" and extra masks were stored when he wasn't using them, and through some unknown means, he was able to summon or swap them out from anywhere on the island. Basically, it was a non-portable version of Ian's own Sylladex. Ian himself had been investigating it as surreptitiously as possible, trying to figure out how it worked, only to quickly give up.

Instead, as he listened to Gali and Tahu verbally duking it out outside the village walls, Ian decided to look into the items he'd picked up after the tree had exploded. With a wave of one hand, he deployed the four weapons on the ground before him. The first item that caught his attention was an almost standard-issue Halo assault rifle, which had what looked like part of an energy sword stuck on the front. And speaking of energy swords...

Ian leaned forward a bit and picked up an object that, to all the world, looked like a bent shake-weight with a spike halfway down the handle, though he knew better. This was an energy sword hilt, and it was beautifully detailed. Gripping the device as he'd seen in Red vs Blue, Ian gave it a sharp shake, and the blade activated with a glorious hiss. What he didn't expect, though, was for a trio of voices so suddenly begin speaking in his mind.

"This is Sebastian of the Dark Angels, and--" Ian suddenly jerked backwards as if he'd been bitten by the sword, inadvertently flinging the weapon into the air. It deactivated mid-flight, and clattered to the cobbles. Okay... That was unexpected. Let's try that again, shall we? Ian chewed his lip, hesitant to get up and go get the dropped hilt himself at the moment, due to his relative exhaustion, so he decided to experiment with his limits.

Reaching towards the hilt, he focused, and willed it to return to his hand as hard as he could. To his surprise, the device leapt into the air like a salmon, and flew right at him. With a solid Smack! sound, it made contact with his palm, and he curled his fingers around it yet again. Giving it another shake, the shimmering translucent blade reappeared, and the voices once again made themselves heard.

"This is Sebastian of the Dark Angels, and Spartans Viktor and Alexandra of the UNSC," said the voices. "For those out there, if you are outnumbered and need help, or if your world and its inhabitants are in danger or you just want to hang out, call upon the protectors of Humanity’s future, from both the 41st Millennium and the 23rd century. Ave Imperator! For the Emperor and the UNSC! For Equestria!"

"Huh..." Ian said, turning the blade this way and that in his hand. "Do all of these do that?" With another wave of his hand, he stowed the energy sword and the bayonetted assault rifle (redubbed as a "bullet launching knife,") in his bladekind-allocated strife deck, then returned his attention to the other weapons.

One had a simple looking design, though the blade was an unusual blue color, and there was what seemed to be a human skull set into the crossbar. The blade was rather wide for it's length, and the hilt was disproportionately long. All in all, a bit macabre for his tastes, but still kinda cool. Ian picked it up, without any accompanying voices, and gave it a few swings and flourishes. Though it wasn't as well balanced as he'd like, it'd do in a pinch. He stowed it, too, and shifted to the next item.

This sword was rather elegant in design, with an emerald-green gem set into either side of the crossbar, and runes carved into the blade's fuller. The blade itself was long and thin, along the lines of a saber or longsword. After running it through the same routine he'd performed with the other sword, Ian determined that it was a very nice sword, and it's owner was probably looking for it. He idly ran his thumb over one of the gems, and was surprised when the blade seemed to separate into several pieces, all connected by a central wire. He thumbed the gem again, and the blade snapped back to it's normal shape.

"Ohhhhhhhh... That's dangerous, that is. And very reminiscent of the chainswords used by the Xenon class in Maplestory..."

Ian carefully swapped it out for the modified assault rifle, and--

"For those who are in need of a scout, a commander, or a friend, I will answer the call. My name is Eliteslayer, but for those who knew me back then as Sebaste, I have returned… and I am ready to serve and protect…"

Ian blinked. He hadn't really been expecting a second message to play in his head, but he was glad he hadn't had his finger on the trigger when it played. So, he put it back in the strife deck, this time deploying the empty Bruteshot. It was high time he got to figuring out how to reload the bloody thing, if that was possible.

Setting it on the ground, Ian straightened up and rested his hands on the back of his hips, as he did from time to time. This particular instance, however, was different. This time, he felt something hanging from where his belt would have been, had he still been wearing one. Ian grabbed whatever it was, yanked it off his hip, and brought it around to get a better look at it.

Seemingly in response to his motion, a panel on top of the Bruteshot slid forward, invitingly. He looked from the item he held, which looked like a chain of lightbulb-shaped objects, to the opening, and shrugged. For better or worse, he carelessly dropped the chain into the hatch, which slid closed with a snap. As he did so, a Halo-esque readout over his mask's right eyehole appeared, displaying the outline of the Bruteshot, with a small "6" next to it.

"Sweet...!" Ian exclaimed softly, taking a closer look at the weapon. The resulting investigation revealed a small switch on the left face of the launcher, currently set to the second of the three available options: "4", "6", and "∞". He raised an eyebrow at the thought of the last setting, and the sheer mayhem it could cause...

Best leave that one be... He thought.

"Caldoric!" Tahu's demanding voice leapt across the courtyard, snagging Ian's attention. "Get over here, we need your input on this thing!"

"If it's about your dispute with Gali, leave me out of it!" Ian countered.

"We've set that aside for now!" Gali shouted. "This is about our plan for tomorrow!"

"Alright, alright, calm your jets!" Absently sticking the Bruteshot over his shoulder and touching it to his back, he stood and made his way over to the group of heroes.

This oughta be good... the former Human thought to himself, sending a silent prayer to any gods who might be listening that this wasn't about to go horribly wrong.

Author's Note:

Hey, it's chapter 3! With a bit of exposition, and... Oh, I do believe this is where the "dark" tag may come into play! Feces is about to hit the thresher, methinks.

Will be doing/starting my first crossover next chapter. Hopefully, that is.

In case anyone was wondering, each of the girls "teamed up" with a Toa that they seemed to mesh with, integrating themselves as best they could with the Matoran population. Thus, Rainbow joined the Ta-Koro guard. This will be explained a bit better in a later chapter.

PS: you can find the Fidget Cube here! Have a video of the thing:

Also, here's what I meant about the Xenon character:

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