En Sabah Nur and Genesis are riding through the night to return to the Sandstormers’ camp, as En Sabah’s father Baal taunted them with a magical message that he was holding and torturing Beast.
Genesis silently muses that he almost held En Sabah back, wishing to change his own fate. He still intends to get him back on that ship eventually and prevent his rise to Apocalypse. He is a good person and deserves better. Assuming of course that they manage to survive his father’s obvious trap.
En Sabah makes them stop near a rock. He explains it’s just over that ridge. Here is where his father usually arranges meetings with rivals. Anyone he doesn’t trust. It’s a narrow valley surrounded by mountains. The pass bottlenecks the way in. He’s seen entire armies fall without reaching the valley. When the Sandstormers hold the mountain, they are all but unbeatable.
Genesis asks if he has another plan to get them in unnoticed. En Sabah figures they could leave the horses behind and climb down the other side of the mountain. But once they are in that valley they are instantly outnumbered. If the archers don’t get them first. No, he is afraid there is no trick to this. Then what are they doing here? Evan asks. Saving his friend, En Sabah Nur replies simply. He amends that his father’s weakness has always been hubris and they are nothing but silly children to him. It’s possible he won’t take them seriously. If they are quick and cunning and the gods smile on them today… They are still probably screwed, Evan finishes the sentence. Probably, En Sabah agrees, but maybe not. He rides ahead and they find Hank hung to a cross.
Evan asks Hank if he is okay. En Sabah is confused. This is supposed to be a trap. What reason could his father have to draw them here and then just… Evan points out maybe Baal rally underestimated them. Maybe they got here faster than he thought. He tears apart Hank’s ties. En Sabah replies he expected an army, a battle to the death. Hank points out his father doesn’t want him dead. He wants him home.
Right he is! another voice pipes up. It is the Mystic who has appeared in a cloud of green smoke. Before En Sabah can asks him a question, the Mystic stuns him. The means to an ends he remarks. He will understand when he is older.
Genesis and Beast angrily attack him. The Mystic creates a limited sandstorm that keeps them busy. When it is over, both the Mystic and En Sabah have disappeared.
However, the two mutants are soon joined by a group of armed Sandstormers, intent on killing them. Genesis attacks them in a berserker rage and quickly takes them all out, to Beast’s surprise.
As they ride away, Beast surmises that the Eye of Horus somehow brought them here. Unfortunately, now the Mystic has it. So long as the Sandstormers don’t already know they survived their assassins. He notices that Evan is thinking of something else. Evan is still thinking about En Sabah’s fate. All he wanted was to run away and Evan didn’t listen. He couldn’t understand. He was already on the ship. He was escaping all the violence and pain. Evan could have come for Hank alone, but the moment En Sabah learned Evan’s friend was in trouble he dove off that ship. Set aside everything he wanted to save a stranger’s life. They have to save him! he implores Hank. Help him get out of Egypt. That can’t happen, Hank replies. Evan insists En Sabah Nur is not a monster. He’s a hero. He’s him. Apocalypse doesn’t exist yet, he further suggests. They can wipe it all away.
At what cost? Hank retorts. Their very presence here could have serious consequences to the timestream. Imagine the butterfly effect extrapolated over thousands of years! Every step they take puts the future at risk. And Evan is talking about snuffing out one of the most influential villains in human history. That’s the biggest butterfly of them all! No, they have to get that mask as quietly and quickly as possible and return home before more damage is done.
Evan is stubborn, though. He tells Hank to leave but he won’t leave En Sabah behind with Baal and those Sandstormers, just because that is the way it happened before.
Hank asks him to think it through for five seconds. He has! Evan shouts, and it doesn’t matter! They can make it so he never becomes… Hank points out Evan is the clone of Apocalypse. If En Sabah never becomes Apocalypse then… He doesn’t care! Evan replies sullenly. It’s not right, it’s not fair and it’s not happening! He rides off.
The Sandstormers’ camp:
En Sabah is levitated by the Mystic’s magic and is clearly in his thrall. Baal announces to the assembled Sandstormers that it is a man’s responsibility to make a man out of his son. And, while he did not set out to raise a squeamish coward, this is where they are. He has failed the boy and, because of that the boy, failed Baal, but no longer! If he wants his son to act like a Sandstormer, he needs to treat him like one. And he needs them to do the same. He must be tested. Bruised and bloodied. With their fists and swords. They must be relentless. And En Sabah Nur will be remade.
That or he will die whimpering in a pool of his own blood, a Sandstormer predicts whispering. A comrade agrees, giving him two weeks tops.
That moment, Genesis rides into the camp. Baal sighs and asks what‘s so difficult about killing this person? Evan jumps at him but Baal easily throws him to the ground. He orders his people to stay back. He gave them every opportunity to kill this imposter. Their failure makes fools of them all. He will handle this himself.
The Sandstomers’ attention is focused on Baal as he beats up Evan. This allows Beast to sneak into the camp and into the Mystic’s tent, although the Mystic notices.
As Hank raffles through the Mystic’s belongings, the Mystic enters and announces the Eye of Horus is safe and locked up tight. Surely his sophisticated, future folk don’t leave valuables lying around, do they? He taunts.
Hank demands that mask, now. Yes, now, the old man mocks. Now the stranger will talk to him, now that Baal is crushing his young master’s skull underfoot. Hank reminds him that En Sabah Nur is back under Baal’s foot, thanks to him. The Mystic chuckles. He serves Apocalypse. But Apocalypse must be nurtured and grown. Baal is a means to an end. The boy needs conflict, sorrow and pain. All things his father will gladly provide.
Again, Hank demands the Eye of Horus and is mocked. Finally, the Mystic suggests a trade. Hank tells him one story of his far-flung future and he will grant him the means to return.
Outside, Genesis is struggling against Baal, not caring about the timeline or whether he can win this fight, but he refuses to leave without En Sabah. Apocalypse ends here, he vows, or he will!
That moment, Hank, carrying the Eye of Horus, intervenes and drags Evan away from Baal. Evan begs him they have to save En Sabah. As he dons the Mask, Hank tells him there is no saving him. What’s done is done.
They disappear and reappear back in their own time. Hank tells Evan that, when he wore the mask, the Third Eye of Horus showed him… Evan grabs the mask and interrupts, then he throws it away. Nobody cares what it showed Hank! he announces. Just like Hank didn’t care what it showed Evan!