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This article was written by Lego aquaman13 and TheSlicer. Please do not add to it without the writers' permission.
The Pool of Power
Noimage
Story
Setting
Sima Nui
Date Set
N/A

The Pool of Power is a story by TheSlicer and Lego aquaman13, set in Sima Nui.

Story[]

Prologue[]

A drop of water crept like a serpent down the brittle pillar that extended down the ceiling of the damp cave down towards the stalagmite that rose from the pool-dappled ground like a hand extended in greeting. The droplet reached the bottom of the upside-down pyramid, pausing momentarily at the very tip of the stalactite, until at last the drop of water and minerrals dropped through the midnight air and landed with a sharp plop on the stalagmite below it.

Nearby, a strange bestial head swiveled on its dark neck, a pair of fiery orange eyes narrowing sharply to investigate the source of the noise. Its sound processors listened acutely, working with its eyes to make a swift mental calculation, and then its brain sent a complex set of instructions to its arm, telling it to fire its weapon.

A great flash of searing plasma streaked through the cave, carving a fiery path through the mist, the pools of water on the floor reflecting the light that poured so harshly from the blast. The blast struck its target, incinerating with a sudden wave of heat the two-hundred-year-old stalactite and stalagmite, leaving in their place only a pile of ashes that began to mix with the murky cave water.

The black head looked upon its work in satisfaction for a moment, its unshapely mouth forming the thin, almost gruesome, smile that he made every time he had the satisfaction of destroying something, but then the shoulder that belonged to the head was seized tightly by a white three-clawed hand very similar to the black being's own.

"You trigger-happy moron," hissed the owner of the hand, a being who looked quite similar to that of the black being, save that his armor was of a white color, representing his power of Ice. "That was only a drop of water, not some sort of attacker. I suppose you're going to be shooting rocks next, Ornax, because your addled head will think they're mines."

The being named Ornax grunted in reply, turning his well-armored back to him pointedly, shoulering his heavy plasma cannon as a shaft of moonlight swept through a hole in the cave ceiling, the light coming onto him to illuminate his powerful form. He looked up momentarily, inspecting the light source for a few seconds, before responding: "I was practicing."

"Practicing?" sneered the white being, tilting his head, remniscient of that of a Rahkshi. "I don't think so. More likely, you were spooked by that drop of water in question, coward that you are. Tell me, Rahi-brain, if I were to strike a match, would you try to shoot me?"

"As if I would never want to shoot you anyway," retorted Ornax, a searing flame in his eye, his claws clenching tightly around thin air as if he were imagining that his brother's neck was in his tight clutches at that very moment. "You're just envious."

"Envious?" Ornex answered, looking at the other bounty hunter coldly while the cave rang with the echoes of his mocking laughter. "Is that a joke? Nothing larger than a particularly small microorganism would be envious of you, of all beings. I have to say, though, I'm surprised. I never thought that your little tiny head has enough room left in it to fit a sense of pride."

"Oh, shut your filthy mouth, you scoundrel," hissed Ornex, turning around sharply to face Ornex, raising his cannon and pointing it directly into his brother's eye, "or else I'll shut it for you. It'll be nice to be forever free of your annoying, high-pitched chatter."

"Are you making threats now?" Ornax said, raising an eyebrow and staring at his brother, his customary unnerving smile spreading treacherously across his bestial face. "Tsk. You should know better than to threaten me. Very well," he finished in a mock sigh, unsheathing his thin weapons and moving his feet around until he was in a fighting stance, circling Ornex, "I will threaten you back."

"You bounty hunters," said a voice from the shadows. "You're all the same, fighting among one another for possession of the meat until there's nothing left but bones, and then you fight among yourselves still. All of you are so crude..."

Ornex forgot immediately about his brother, turning around to face what he assumed to be where the voice was coming from. He moved his cannon around, apparently harboring the ridiculous hope that his target would intentionally step into cannon range.

"Who are you?" he roared, his voice echoing around the cave.

"That is not important," said the voice, coming from the opposite direction this time. Ornax looked in its general direction, frowning and raising his swords.

"What do you want with us, then?" said Ornax, his smooth tone showing not a quiver of fear or apprehension, his tight grin wavering not a bit.

"What I want," sighed the voice, coming from above now. "I want so many things, bounty hunters, that your miniscule heads cannot fully encompass their meaning. But what I want with you is a different matter. I shall put it as simply as possible, so you will be able to understand."

"Don't bother," hissed Ornex. "We're not stupid, you know."

“Very well,” the voice responded. “I require your services in the process of the liquidation of a potentially troublesome duo of assets. Has this concept been properly established in your minute intelligences, or need I explain it further?"

Ornax nodded, although the confused frown plainly apparent upon his brow was more than enough to convince the two other sentient beings present otherwise.

“He means, numbskull,” said Ornex, turning to his brother, scowling, rolling his eyes, and making a big show of pretending that he was even considering the possibility of hiding the sour look upon his face and the acidity in his tone as he spoke, “that we have to destroy something.”

Ornax brightened immediately, looking up at the cave ceiling from which the voice had come from last. “What do we destroy?”

“A pair,” the voice answered icily, “of assets. I shall reveal more to you when the time is ripe.”

“How will you know that the time is ripe?” said Ornax. Ornex kicked him in an attempt to silence his brother, but the damage was done. Both bounty hunters began to feel as if they were being watched by a pair of cold, deadly eyes, just as they had before, only now they began to worry that the eyes were annoyed. And the two of them knew from experience that cold, deadly, annoyed beings were a force to be reckoned with.

However, this time, at least, no invisible force reached out from them from the shadows, no fire sprung out to encircle them in a circle of flame; they were, for the moment, safe, or at least so far as they could tell.

“Very well,” responded the icy voice. “I shall tell you now. You are being sent to kill a pair of Matoran.” Apparently, the speaker detected Ornax’s badly-hidden snort of laughter, and so continued: “It will be no easy task. I am certain that neither these Matoran nor their companions are stupid, except maybe one or two of them. And I assure you, the pay is good.”

“How good?” said Ornex. Ornax decided that it would be wise to keep silent; Ornex was always the one to handle all the monetary affairs of their two-man team. The last time he had spoken up during one of these conversations, the two bounty hunters had nearly been slaughtered by a horde of Visorak, unleashed upon them by their potential employer. From then on, Ornax had kept his mouth shut.

“Not in widgets,” hissed the voice in response. “And not in barter, either. No, I can give you what the two of you have longed for for seven hundred years.”

“And how is that?” Ornex answered, frowning, obviously suspicious of their current host’s plans.

“Very simple,” the voice answered. “Come.”

Before either bounty hunter could ask where they were expected to “come,” the cave shook as if in an earthquake. The two beings stumbled, the nimble Ornex getting up first, standing up in time to see the beginning of the cave’s collapse. The void shook, the air itself filled with a massive tremor, and Ornex struggled to keep his footing as the ground convulsed beneath him. Ornax stood up next, but that was only temporary; he was forced to roll away from his current position to avoid the path of one of the larger rocks which was careening down through the air. It landed where Ornax had just been seconds previously, the noise of the impact muffled by that of the earthquake and the other falling rocks.

Ornex swore loudly as small pebbles landed on his helmet, coming as precipitation would in a storm, bouncing off with minimal injury to him and landing beside his feet. “Ornax, you filthy brute, use your Earth powers! This is going to kill us all!”

Ornax struggled to his feet, raising his head and blinking repeatedly for a moment, as if he were trying to figure out where he was, where the awful noise was coming from, and why it was raining rocks all of a sudden. Then as if coming out of a trance, he blinked one last time and looked towards his brother. “I already used them up. Have to wait for them to recharge.”

“And you suggest we do that now?” growled Ornex. A large rock plummeted to the ground nearby, spreading a shower of little pieces of cave floor and more pebbles on the bounty hunter’s armor, which was now so covered with dirt that it was no longer white. “Brilliant mind you are.”

Then the voice reappeared, booming out at them from all directions. “Come. I will show you why I have taken you here.”

“To kill us?” Ornex answered bitterly, glancing around at nothing in particular as he dodged another falling rock. “Yeah, thank you very much. People like us appreciate that a lot.”

The earthquake suddenly stopped. Ornax, obviously just as disturbed with this turn of events as he had been whyen the rocks had started falling, hissed angrily. Ornex told him to shut up.

“Oh, that,” said the voice mildly. “That was merely a minor safety precaution. Blocking the exit, you see, so you can’t possibly interrupt the… proceedings… by running away, since that’s just impolite.”

“And why should we want to run away in the first place?” answered Ornax loudly, aiming his cannon at where he assumed the voice was coming from. Ornex glared at him, but his brother either wasn’t paying attention or was terribly stupid, as he continued to shout at their unseen captor. “And why did you send that minion of yours to take us here? You could have brought us to any place, any place whatsoever!”

Luckily, Ornex thought, the body-less voice seemed to take no offense at Ornax’s comments, and merely replied, “You shall receive the answers to both of your questions shortly. Now—” And here the voice paused to telekinetically move the rocks present at the back of the cave out of the way— “to business.”

A silver light flooded the cave, and the two bounty hunters blinked in response to the sudden illumination. They continued walking forward, the area around them suddenly becoming clearer. After a few moments, Ornex asked the question present in both the bounty hunters’ minds:

“What is this?”

“This,” said the voice as the area began to come into focus, “is the Pool of Power.”

At last, the bounty hunters could see properly. Ornex looked around the area momentarily; this was not part of the cave they had been in. This area had been hidden from their view by a thick wall, which presumably had been destroyed in the earthquake. Like in the cave they had passed through, stalactites hung from the ceiling, and beneath them rose pyramids of mineral, the stalagmites. In some places, the two pyramids had joined, forming a thick, brittle pillar. But these mineral sculptures were easier to see now, mostly due to the luminescent silver pool that lay in the center of the cave.

The pool.

The Pool.

It could have been mistaken for an everyday, cave-water pond if it had not been so blatantly out of place. Its surface rippled as if in the wind, but there was none; and the Pool shone like the sun itself, a strange, unnatural luminescence. It was relatively small, its diameter only about five times one of the bounty hunter’s arm spans, but it tricked the eye into appearing much bigger, or much smaller, or both at once; it was not a natural phenomenon, that was unquestionable.

“Impossible,” Ornax whispered. “The Pool is a legend.”

“Not impossible,” said the voice, in a satisfied tone, “and what you see before you is definitely not a legend. I of all beings should know.”

“This is becoming tiresome,” Ornex hissed. “Show yourself! Prove that the Pool is what you claim it is!”

“I shall do no such thing,” the voice responded. “You can do it yourself. One of you, if you please, step towards it.”

Ornex and Ornax looked at each other, the expression on Ornax’s face that of uncertainty, and while Ornex was careful enough not to show his emotions on his face, his thoughts were the same. At the same time, both of the brother bounty hunters attempted to shove each other towards the Pool. They both succeeded, and the two bounty hunters were flung back by a sudden burst of energy.

“It is the Pool of Power,” said the voice affirmatively. “What you just experienced was the force of the Gate, designed to keep beings like you two out. You see, the assets I am sending you to liquidate — the Matoran — are going to hunt for the Key. You are to follow them, encourage them discreetly if necessary, but do not kill them until they have found the Key. If you do so, then you shall be able to open the Gate and enter the Pool. Thus, you see, the mission shall provide its own reward.”

Ornex apparently decided not to hide his emotions anymore; he looked satisfied as he looked toward the Pool to address his new employer. “Names?” he said, somewhat stiffly.

“Of the targets? Samnes and Zio. They can be found in Po-Sima, but remember: You are not to lay hand, claw, or plasma cannon on them until they find the Key.”

“Good,” said Ornax, who looked just as satisfied as his brother. He looked around for a moment. “Erm, how do we—?” He made a wild gesture around him at the cave, which the corporeal voice correctly interpreted as a question: How are we supposed to get out of this cave?

“Ah,” said the voice. “Simple. I shall teleport you out.” He then proceeded to do so, leaving only Ornex, who looked squarely at the pool (which was where both he and his brother now regarded the voice as coming from) and frowned.

“I’m not stupid,” Ornex spat. “You wouldn’t send us on a mission like this without something to gain from it. Why do you need the Gate opened?”

The voice paused for a moment, before finally answering:

“My dear Ornex, has it not occurred to you that not everybody wants to get into the Pool of Power?” Another pause.

“Some people,” began the voice again, just as the teleportation process began and Ornex felt himself beginning to fade away, “some people want to get out.”

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