For answer, Agent Goldstein put his finger to his lips, and waved them to stay still. He crawled forward, silently, and then retreated, moving backwards on all fours.
And then the chanting filled the passage, filtering out from the large chamber just around the corner.
"Come on!" He snapped, clicking off the safety from his gun.
The others followed his charge... into the main chamber. The tableau that met their eyes would stay with all of the group, for the rest of their lives.
The first thing they encountered was a skirmish line of cultists, all with automatic weapons leveled at them. But though this was terrifying enough, what lay beyond this protective wall was evern worse.
On the floor of the chamber lay Zolar - already dead. There was no doubt about that. The amount of blood pouring form the gaping wound in his neck left no room for ambiguity! In his dead hand was clutched a small, mummified object.
"Too late," laughed one of the cultists. "You're here to see the last seconds of the old order. Set has accepted the sacrifice. See?"
And, sure enough, a crack was forming across the sand-strewn floor of the chamber.
"Who needs you, you sexless virgin." he laughed, pointing at Nathalie. "And you," he turned his gaze to David. "You thought to foil our sacrifice. And all your heroics achieved was to force us into a plan that worked even better. It's you that brought about the return of Set - doesn't fate work in mysterious ways." he began giggling helplessly. "And as for you," he stared at Julie. "Stupid, brainless girl, meddling in things you can't hope to understand. And the two of you," his gaze swept Agents Goldstein and Solomon. "You're strength is useless here. You face a greater power. All of you will be enslaved - made into mindless, drooling slaves of the elite. Darkness rules again!"
The crack widened, and a dreadful sulphurous stench began wafting from it.
"Soon, Set himself and all his legions will emerge. And there's nothing whatsoever you can do about it!"
Agent Goldstein leveled his pistol and squeezed the trigger. He received only an impotent click for his pains.
"Never give up, do you?" giggled the cultist, insanely. "None of your power works any more. It's Set - and his earthly servant, Zolar - who call the shots now. Your guns are useless."
David rushed to Nathalie, and held her tight. "You know, darling," he said to her. "I wish I'd said this before it was too late, But I should tell you anyway. I love you." He turned back to the cult bodyguard. "And that's why, whatever happens, you can never win. Even if Set's legions infest the entire world, you still haven't won. They'll be no joy in his triumph, not for him, nor you. Because you'll have no beauty, no laughter - no love! You'll be as much slaves as we'll be."
The cultist looked a bit doubtful, but recovered himself. "Brave words, Mister White Knight," he spat out. He glanced at the fissure on the ground, which was becoming ever wider. "But I guess that's all you have left, now. Words!"