Chapter 11: Face to Face
As the group pursued Hannah's captor over the next dune, they stopped, aghast at what was before them.
A gargantuan metal hand rose from the sands, emitting a low hum. Standing before it was Israphel himself, his red eyes gleaming in excitement, his mouth stretched back in a horrible smile as he stared up at the massive limb.
"Simon... Israphel didn't just bring the Sands through..." Lewis whispered, visibly shaking. "He brought the Jade Sentinel."
The sand holding Hannah dispersed, sending the young woman into Israphel's grasp before the team could reach her. Lewis stared at the hideous wraith holding her, the knowledge that he was responsible for all of the death and destruction only compounding his fury.
And then, to his horror, Israphel started to speak.
"Lewis and Simon. My mortal enemies. At last, we meet in your realm. I'm rather disappointed that you're just weak little humans, rather than the heroes Minecraftia knows you as."
Lewis stepped forward, seething, his fists clenched around his sword. It only made Israphel smile wider. "What are you trying to do? Do you plan on running me through, just as you did back at the Wall? Oh, that's right, you didn't. In fact, you've never successfully injured me, no matter how close you've gotten. Do you know why?"
He lifted his blade, pushing it close to Hannah's neck as the sand-copy had. "Because it doesn't matter that you're heroes. It doesn't matter that you have friends by your side, or that you have righteous goals. It doesn't matter that you are legends. Why? Because I will always be more powerful than you. Even on my own in this world, without the benefit of my servants, I easily took the lives of nearly every member of your organization, and one of you will always bear the scar of my blade." He pointed to Martyn's prosthetic leg, causing the young man's face to redden in anger.
"But that's enough small talk. I have been waiting for this moment since Verigan Antioch imprisoned me thousands of years ago. This woman will give her life to the all-powerful Jade Sentinel, and it will rise once more, with me at its helm."
With a rattling laugh, Israphel descended into the sand as if it were water, carrying a struggling Hannah with him. Shouting obscenities, Lewis launched himself at the spot where he had stood, digging desperately, calling Hannah's name to no avail.
Israphel shoved Hannah into the Jade Sentinel power chamber, which currently housed a huge nuclear reactor. All of the necessary components were ready to be powered on, but only the sacrifice could kickstart the reactor core and trigger the awakening.
Pulling her to the edge overlooking the reactor pit, he raised his diamond blade high and brought it down on her spine. A scream escaped her lips, only to be lost as she was hurled over the edge. Israphel watched as her body sank into the smoldering green fluid at the bottom, which started to boil and steam.
To his excitement, the lights across the various consoles started up, and the reactor started to groan. It was finally beginning.
Lewis's tragic fumbling was interrupted by an ear-splitting grinding noise. The team gaped as the huge hand of the Jade Sentinel crashed down into the sands with a crunch, and another exploded up from the ground to join it. This second limb emerged just behind the group, and they stumbled to escape its path.
Rythian was not lucky. The hand came down, swiftly crushing him and leaving a crimson imprint in the sand.
The five surviving Yogscasters didn't have any time to mourn, as a massive gray head burst from the space between the arms, its huge eyes bathing them in bright green light.
The Jade Sentinel had been activated.