Huai Snowball Sling
Rather than continuing his counter-clockwise jaunt around the island, Takua sets off due north, passing through the westernmost edge of the Mangai volcano before arriving in the foothills of Mount Ihu. As the peaks rise higher and higher, Takua encounters more and more bridges spanning deep gorges and chasms. But as the altitude rises, the temperatures plunge, and Takua clutches himself as he drags his feet through the shin-deep snow. His whole body aches and his muscles are shivering by the time he arrives at the village outskirts.
It is as he is crossing one of the final bridges into Ko-Matoran territory that he passes a group of Ko-Matoran sliding and gliding up and down a small ice rink, hurling snowballs at each other. They are clearly having a blast, momentarily unconcerned with the darkness seeping into the world, stretching across every inch of the land.
It seems nice.
The traveler pauses and thinks for a moment. On one hand, there is nothing he wants more than to escape the frigid cold of the tundra. On the other…
Takua sighs. Putting on a smile, he catches the eye of one of the Ko-Matoran players and waves. Spotting a set of footprints leading to the field, the Matoran steps along the tracks, making for slightly easier travel.
By the time Takua reaches the ice field, several Ko-Matoran have finished their game and are brushing the snow off their armor. The one Takua has signaled wanders over. The traveler quickly explains that he may soon be eligible for a Copper Mask soon and is looking to finish the island circuit.
The athlete smiles. “I’m always in the mood for a good snowball fight! Get ready! You will slide around on the ice when you fling snowballs. If you can avoid being totally covered in snow, you win!”
Takua is surprised at the simplicity of the game, which the Ko-Matoran calls Huai Snowball Sling. After Ussal racing, koli, and Kewa Bird Riding, this doesn’t seem too difficult at all. And as the other players prepare their first snowballs, Takua walks to the edge of the rink where all the snow lies and begins scooping his own. Then he takes his mark.
The horn blares, and the peaceful rink becomes a firestorm of snowballs. Takua is hit by a few right away, but as the Ko-Matoran turn their attention to each other, the more experienced players, Takua is able to hang along the edges and pick them off from the side.
But by far the hardest part of the game, as Takua quickly realizes, is the rink itself. Slick not only ice but also the water from the friction of running, the ground is nearly impossible to stand still on. Even the effort of hurling a snowball is enough to send the Matoran sliding backwards. Maneuverability is not helped by the snowballs themselves, which stick and clumped onto their targets. Before long, all four Matoran are starting to resemble snowballs themselves.
It is when one of the Ko-Matoran loses his footing and rolls off the rink like a giant snow boulder that Takua realizes he has a chance to win.
The Ko-Matoran that has greeted him is certainly targeting the other Ko-Matoran, and the pair are locked in a monumental duel. But when the greeter’s opponent loses his footing and slips, Takua knows he has to act fast. As the traveler fires a volley at the greeter, even the veteran player has no chance. Like the first Ko-Matoran to fall, the other two soon roll off the field.
Takua leans over to catch his breath before dusting himself off. It’s almost impossible to believe.
“The feel of fresh snow on your face is so refreshing!”
The athlete that he had spoken to before has already cleaned himself. He offers to play Takua again, but the traveler politely declines, knowing he must be on his way. Grabbing his equipment, he sets off.
Realm of Ice
Seeing Takua’s bright red form approaching, two village guards perk up.
“Go back, or you’ll be frozen in ice!”
“No, you’ll be buried in snow.”
“Frozen in ice is better.”
“I like buried in snow!”
“Let’s compromise: go back or you’ll be really-really cold!”
As a Matoran from Ta-Koro, Takua is accustomed to the heat, but the cold is altogether foreign to him. Many other Matoran have been frozen or lost in recent times, including even Ko-Matoran themselves. Without a Heatstone, odds of survival plummet.
But if he lingers too much longer with the ominous guards, he might be buried in snow and frozen in ice. Accepting the consequences, he makes his way past them. An ice barrier blocks the path, but a swing of the Stone Hammer brings it down. Behind it rests a stash of icy snowballs which Takua retrieves.
The traveler is surprised to see a winding path stretching out before him, snaking still further up the mountain. Unlike the guard posts he’s visited, this one remains well away from the village. Nor does it seem to stand against Rahi, for as Takua hikes up the path, he spots movement along the mountains. Wild mountain goat-like Maha buck up and down the mountain, even as the horned Vako charge at anything that wanders close, attempting to throw them off the narrow pass into the chasm below. Worst of all, however, are the bird-like ice elementals which fly above the path as travelers pass beneath, then throw their full weight down to crush their prey. Takua is able to evade these, but not easily.
After jumping across some narrow chasms and escaping the onslaught of the Rahi, Takua comes within sight of the village.
As Takua makes his way through the village, he is struck by the spell of silence that permeates the land. Unlike the athlete and the guards he has met outside, most villagers are not eager to engage in conversation. When Takua does stop Matoran to talk, they respond as briefly as possible before hurrying away.
So silent and so cold was the village, in fact, that when, out of the corner of his eye, he sees someone near a southeastern path gesturing him over, Takua finds himself thanking Mata Nui. He makes his way over quickly.
As Takua trots up, the ice villager looks away pensively. Then he looks back.
“You’ve arrived just in time. Turaga Nuju has been kidnapped by a horde of evil beasts, and my friend Matoro has been injured. The best trackers of our village have been unable to reach Nuju. You must rescue Nuju.”
Once again, he was too late to stop the kidnapping, but he resolves to find Nuju and recover the Turaga. Takua attempts to go down the path, but the Ko-Matoran blocks it, evidently to recommend some other path. Takua instead turns and heads through the village again, and a jaunt over to the village Treekeeper indicates a similarly dire situation.
“We are beginning to freeze without the source of energy that our Vuata Maca Tree provides! In order to restore this tree to health, you must find two Vuata Maca crystals and bring them to me. You must help us, before it’s too late!”
As the Treekeeper is still speaking, more Ko-Matoran pipe up.
“I'm not sure what happened to our Element of Melting, but without it we can’t melt water for our village!”
“Have you seen the Toa Kopaka Stone? I heard it was lost!”
Takua does his best to set the minds of the villagers at ease, assuring them that he will first attempt to track down the missing Turaga and bring him back safely. As he is heading out, one of the quieter villagers clears his throat. “Have you seen the Rahi outside our village? Be careful out there!” he warns.
“The Vuata Maca Fruit on every level will help you recharge your energy,” advises a second.
The northeastern path from the village leads to the North March which in turn leads to Ta-Wahi. This leaves the northwestern path. Noting the worries and concerns of the villagers, Takua ventures into the wilderness.
Takua has scarcely ventured down the mountain path than he is assailed by a horde of trampling Maha. Warding them off with his disc, he ducks and dodges as they prance about, trying to trample him into the dirt. Managing to escape them, he continues to ward off Vako and the ice elementals. Luckily, as he is making his way along, he finds the first Vuata Maca crystal.
Here more than anywhere else did Takua have to jump from one icy ravine to another. Here one mistake could send him plunging to his demise. These weren’t the expansive, endless Drifts he had heard so much about, although those certainly held their own dangers. To make matters worse, the stings of hail and ice particles assaulted his every step, and yet any serious breach in concentration would send him sliding to his doom. More than once did Takua praying that the torment would end.
It was when he was starting to doubt that it ever would that the Matoran rounded a bend to find Nuju. If the Turaga had been confined in a cage, he must have escaped it. But it hadn’t done him much good, for he had found himself stranded on the top of a narrow pillar ringed by seemingly bottomless chasms and guarded by the avian ice elementals and Vako.
The Vako was easy enough to beat, and with a few flings of his disc, Takua was able to knock it off its feet. The snow birds, however, was far trickier. Nor did they afford Takua much time to think, for every few seconds they brought themselves down hard wherever he was standing, flatten, and reconstitute, flying into the air.
The Matoran was starting to grow desperate when he spotted some nearby stalagmites sticking out of the ground. The Matoran hurried over to them and waited, and before long one of the birds glided over and slammed itself down. Takua summersaulted out of the way as the creature landed hard, impaling itself on the ice spike. It was defeated, though Takua did not want to stick around to see if it could reconstitute itself.
Jumping over to the platform, Takua arrived in front of the Turaga who met him with a grave expression. The Turaga looked away as if considering something, before looking back. In a voice hoarse from disuse, he spoke.
“Thank you for saving me, Takua. Let’s go back to the village, we can talk more there.”[note 1]
In the Village
Upon returning to Ko-Koro, the reactions of the Ko-Matoran are dramatically subdued and almost imperceptible, but the difference in atmosphere is instantaneous. Nuju does not linger long, and to Takua’s surprise he speaks not at all to his villagers, and the villagers scarcely speak to him. Instead, the Turaga hurriedly ushers Takua to a private area where they can speak without being heard. There he presents Takua with a blue staff, speaking again, as hoarsely as before.
“As a reward for rescuing me, I have a gift for you… Nokama’s Trident! With this staff you’ll be able to launch water balls at your enemies. Now that you have proven your ability, I must ask for your aid. The sacred Toa Kopaka Stone has been stolen from Kini-Nui. It must be found and returned so the Legend of Mata Nui can be told. In addition, Makuta’s henchmen have stolen the Element of Melting from our village. This artifact helps us melt the ice that covers Mt. Ihu and lets some water flow freely around our village.”
Takua offers Nuju his Ice Pick, but the Turaga shakes his head and silently pushes it back to the Matoran.
Their exchange appears to be over, so Takua hurries over to the Treekeeper. His reaction by this point is unsurprising.
“Excellent work! You’ve recovered the first half of the Vuata Maca Tree crystal. There is still one more you must find.”
The Matoran who met him upon his entry to the village is now gone and the Ko-Matoran villagers remain awkward company, so without wasting much time Takua starts down the southeastern path.
The Toa Kopaka Stone
The instant he sets foot outside the relative warmth of the village, Takua is met by a hard blast of biting cold.
With a string of grumbles following him the whole way, the Matoran sets off.
The landscape here is much less treacherous, although frustratingly there are no less Rahi. Instead, Takua finds himself wandering around the bases of tall mounds, discovering hidden paths and noticing otherwise-imperceptible clues. Following one path to its easternmost end, he stumbles on a large, gleaming crystal in the snow he realizes must be the Element of Melting.
Because he cannot continue, he backtracks and almost starts between two large glaciers when he spies something gleaming across the chasm from the path. Jumping across he finds, to his delight, the second Vuata Maca crystal.
Only one lost item remains.
It is then that Takua spots three snow-covered crates tucked away on a nearby peak. They are quite out of place amid the uniform landscape.
But what could they be? On one hand, it is highly unlikely that Makuta’s minions would make such an obvious hiding place for their stolen treasure. On the other, isn’t it Takua’s responsibility to leave no stone unturned?
He ambles over. The crates lie motionless, and the middle one appears to glow with a gray light. Flinging his sharp-edged disc to open them, he is surprised to see the Ice Toa Stone.
And looming above it, surrounded by the fragments of the shattered crate, is a large, muscular Hikaki.
The other two crates explode as two more Hikaki charged out, gnashing their teeth and extending their claws.
The deep snow and frigid temperatures already make movement hard, but in life-threatening situations like this, Takua has learned to power through. Using every snowball and disc he can get his hands on, he somehow manages to overpower them.
The third Hikaki doubles back on Takua, forcing him to take cover in the remains of one of the opened crates. Emerging over the edge of the side of the crate, he slings a Madu fruit in the creature’s chest right as it lunges, taking the impact at close range. That is enough to defeat it, too.
Takua collapses in the snow. His luck hasn’t run out yet.
Retrieving the Toa stone, he returns to the village where, for the first time, the atmosphere seems warm. Many Matoran even subtly hint that he should linger.
“I’ve heard that Matoro has a very good singing voice.”
“Kopeke is a very skilled ice skater and a master thrower of discs.”
“Many from our village like to skate on Lake Naho.”
“If you win all the village games, you get the Copper Mask!”
Others, while grateful, don’t seem interested in lingering strangers. Somehow they manage to be both incredibly subtle and painfully obvious.
“Ko-Koro is too cold! I’d much rather live in a warm village, like Po-Koro.”
“All of this snow is making my feet cold…”
“All it ever does is snow up here! Would it hurt anyone if we had some sun?”
The Treekeeper is elated to see Takua, and as the traveler draws near, he beams, taking both crystals and adding them to the tree. “Ko-Koro is saved! You’ve found both of the Vuata Maca Tree crystals!” As a reward, he gives Takua a new Amana Volo Sphere.
Although the Turaga’s expression remains stoic, his eyes seem to smile. Pulling Takua aside, he softly says, “Thank you for getting our Toa Stone back! You are now free to go to the next village.”
- During the events of this game, Nuju appears to forego translation for the sake of urgency.
- Within this level, unused dialogue includes:
“Once again you have beaten the odds, brave islander. With the Element of Melting returned, the waters around Ko-Koro will flow once more. You have also recovered the Toa Kopaka Stone! So many great deeds have been done by one who is so small. Your quest is not over, my friend. You must now journey to Ta-Koro, the village of fire. There you must speak with Vakama, who will tell you more of your quest. Good luck … and may Kopaka guide your path!”
“Have you met Matoro? He stands to Nuju’s right during the Great Takara.”
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