Four hours after leaving the cafeteria, Nathanael and Harry had gathered everyone into the portal chamber for the meeting. After waiting nearly an hour, Hannibal, Dan, Jerry, and Chris finally showed up in a golf cart. During that hour, Nathanael and Harry learned about the garden chamber from Selina, Cynthia, and Mary and what it meant for the supply of the Temple. Upon arriving in the portal chamber, Hannibal sprinted to the platform where Nathanael, Harry, Mary, Dennis, and Selina waited patiently talking with several other people. Dan, Jerry, and Chris followed close behind Hannibal.
Hannibal climbed atop of one of the crates of supplies near the edge of the platform and whistled, getting everyone’s attention. Selina, Nathanael, Harry, Mary, and Dennis joined him beside the crate with Dan, Jerry, and Chris. The crowd quieted, giving Hannibal their attention. “I’m not much of a public speaker, so I will try to keep it short,” Hannibal began. “First, I’d like to thank you all for what you’ve done for me. You’re the finest research team and family any man could hope to live and work with. I love you all very much. Second, I believe you know why I called you here and it wasn’t for a thank you.” A laugh rumbled softly through the crowd as he continued, “You all know what’s been going on with the expedition to Amacia. I have been informed that all things will be ready shortly so the time has come when I shall have to leave you once again. Harry, Nathanael, and Selina will be accompanying me on the expedition to Argentina. That’s why I want to inform you all that I’m going to leave Dan in charge once again during my absence. He has repeatedly proven his ability to look out for your welfare and keep things running smoothly. I want you to give him all the support you can. Jerry and Chris will be his right and left hands. I ask only two things of you while I’m gone. One: that you keep your unity and love as a family and community. Secondly: that the research and exploration of the Temple continue unabated. We sit on the greatest archaeological find ever discovered. Let’s not disappoint the Lord, who has so generously provided us with this treasure. When the time comes to reveal our findings to the world, let’s let them know in no uncertain terms that it was the Lord our God who opened the doors and gave us access to these treasures. I want you to follow Dan’s orders as if I had given them. Dan, could you step up here for a minute?”
Dan stepped up on the crate beside Hannibal. Hannibal put his hand on Dan’s shoulder and declared, “I put them in your charge, Dan. Look after them as I have.” Turning to the crowd, Hannibal stated, “I’ll come back to you at the end of this expedition. Amacia and the Temple will be revealed at the same time to the world, and we’ll shake it to its foundations. Let the masters of the universe tremble! Their house of lies is about to be washed out from underneath them by a flood of truth and they cannot stop it!”
Hannibal paused for a moment, completely astounded at the last words he uttered because they just came out without him realizing it. Chills raced down his spine because of it. “We’ll be leaving in three days for Amacia,” he said in a humbled tone. “I just thought you would like to know who I wanted to be in charge while we are gone. May the Lord bless you all, keep you safe in our absence, and remember...I will always come for you, Lord willing. I guess that is about it. Treat Dan as you would me and you’ll get along very well.”
Dan stepped down off the box and Hannibal turned to step down when a voice shouted out of the crowd, “How long will you be gone?”
Hannibal turned back to the crowd, addressing the voice. “I’m sorry to say I honestly don’t know,” he replied. “Exploring isn’t an exact science. Just take this place for instance. It was six months before I was able to explore and secure this place enough to bring you all here. I’m not trying to give you a short answer. I simply don’t know.”
Another voice called out, “Please come back to us.”
“If it’s the Lord’s will that I return, I will,” Hannibal stated, “and I’m confident that it’s His will that I return.”
“We love you. May the Lord guide your steps!” yet another voice shouted out.
Before Hannibal could respond, a spontaneous explosion of applause and cheer rose from his research team and their families. Within seconds, everyone was clapping and cheering. Hannibal looked around in utter amazement at the display of affection and he was deeply moved. The applause went on for over two minutes. Tears welled up in Hannibal’s eyes as he motioned for them to cease their applause. After the applause died down, he said, choked with emotion, “I’ll say it again…you’re the finest group of people I’ve ever had the pleasure of being part of. But give not your applause to me but give it to the Lord. He’s the one that deserves the praise. Let’s give Him a round of applause and cheer worthy of Him.” At that, he began to clap and cheer the Lord. Within seconds, everyone present was doing the same thing. A great cheer arose that rumbled throughout the Temple to the point that it was almost deafening. The cheer lasted almost three minutes. As it subsided, a voice from the crowd began to sing. Within a few seconds, the song spread through the crowd like wildfire and everyone was singing praises unto the Lord. Hannibal looked around at what was going on and marveled. He saw everyone singing and immediately joined in.
Unknown to them, a multitude of angels surrounded them and joined in. Gabriel and Michael perched on top of the portal machinery and surveyed the scene. They looked at each other with growing smiles. “He’s ready,” Michael commented. “The time has come for him to face the Black Prince.”
“Yes, he is,” Gabriel agreed, “however, he’ll face great hardship in the mission that will cause him to doubt himself and at times the will of the Father. But as long as he keeps the Lord in focus he will be successful.”
At that, the two archangels took to flight and passed through the three thousand feet of solid rock between the portal chamber and the surface in an instant. They stopped and hovered a thousand feet over the volcano and surveyed the situation. Angelic warriors patrolled the mountain with weapons drawn. Just off in the jungle around the Temple, a hideous black horde of demoniac entities milled about like ants whose nest had been disrupted, constantly testing the angelic perimeter. They noticed the two archangels and some of the more powerful demons took flight to surround them but did not come near in fear of Michael’s great sword, which hung at his side.
Suddenly from out of nowhere, Dezarcus appeared and pushed right up to Michael and Gabriel. He snarled viciously at the both of them. “You can’t protect him forever,” Dezarcus hissed. “Beowulf is mine. You may have been able to evict us from our fortress, but you’ll not be able to keep it just as you’ll not be able to keep Beowulf. I’ll have his soul and there’s nothing you can do about it. His descent into Amacia will be his final descent into hell where I’ll be waiting.”
“What hole did you crawl out of?” Michael retorted. “Why do you speak such lies? You’re beaten, Dezarcus. Go back to your darkness and if you see the Black Prince, tell him that his days grow short.”
Dezarcus raged and cursed, ranting, “He’s mine. I’ll have him back even if I have to destroy the whole world to do it!”
“The Lord rebukes you, Dezarcus!” Gabriel rebuked. “You’ll never have him again and the world is not yours to destroy. Now get thee hence back into your darkness.” By this time, a dozen great angelic warriors were backing Michael and Gabriel.
Dezarcus had thirty very powerful and hideous principalities backing him. Dezarcus glared wickedly at the two archangels, and then turned to his cohorts. “Another time,” he snarled. “These goody two-shoes will drop their guard sooner or later and when they do; my sword will be in their hearts.”
“I think not,” Michael growled with righteous indignation. “Get thee hence back into your darkness, demon.”
“Another time, angels; we will have our day,” Dezarcus growled with venom as he backed down and disappeared into the jungle with his cohorts.
“He’s getting more and more brazen,” Gabriel observed.“Yes,” Michael agreed as the angelic warriors disappeared into the Temple. “We’ll have to watch him carefully. He’s drawing his legions together and will soon join with the Prince of the North. We’ll have to double our presence here just to keep him off of the remnant here.” Gabriel nodded and they both suddenly raced out of sight into the sky in an instant.