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Dec 17, 2018 5:51 AM
Ari finds himself Elsewhere
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"Dude, don't be judgemental of the demon's life choices. Be body positive or whatever that shit is called. Anyway, do you think you can hit the nipples?"

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Thomas picks a rock and uses his power to throw it really far and really fast at the demon's nipples.

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The rock pings off the gold ring. The demon lord looks... well, he doesn't really have a face that can convey human emotion, but correcting for that, he looks confused.

Then he gestures, and burning demonic energy wells up around their feet. Li-Ming swears loudly and teleports out of the area of effect, then starts blasting away.

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Yup. Dodging time. At least Thomas can say he taunted a Demon Lord of Hell and survived.

If they do survive.

Oh, hell. He will drink the stamina potion and use his power to immobilize Azmodan.

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Azmodan seems even less impeded by this than Belial was. He creates an enormous but slow-moving fireball which, when it impacts the ground, reduces a sizable hemisphere of it to molten slag. Then he conjures up a floating device that summons one demonic minion after another.

Lorath takes the opportunity to kill several of the apparently not particularly strong minions, then reduce their skeletons to razor-sharp splinters and hurl them at Azmodan, leaving a section of his exposed torso shredded as if by a sawed-off shotgun of unimaginable size.

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You know what Gabe wants to try? Figuring out what happens when he puts a shield inside an open wound then enlarge it really fast. That sounds like a science stuff that Henry would do and Gabe wants to do it.

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The wound rapidly enlarges, is what happens! It grows large enough to intersect with Azmodan's horrible torso-maw, which begins to flap open. He roars in pain.

Then Li-Ming runs up, aims at the hole, and blasts a beam of arcane energy straight through and out the other side. The vast demon roars again, then slowly topples over.

"Yeah!" she exclaims. "Suck on that!"

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Thomas takes Lorath and dips him for a kiss.

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"Hey, if you kill the ruler of Hell do you become the new ruler of Hell?"

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Lorath is surprised but pleased by kiss!

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"That's what we're trying to avoid, Gabe."

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"Oh, right. Evil is bad."

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After a long kiss, Thomas straights up Lorath again.

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Lorath giggles dizzily.

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Suddenly, Ari and Adria step out of a red portal, Black Soulstone floating behind them. Ari looks exhausted, the extended effort of keeping the demon lords restrained clearly taking its toll.

"Now, Ari! Draw his soul into the Stone!"

Ari does so, and with a flash of red light, the souls of the Seven Evils are united. Red lightning crackles over the stone's surface.

"It won't be stable for long," Adria says grimly. "Come back to the Keep, everyone; I must prepare to destroy the Stone."

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Gabe puts an arm around Ari and crosses the portal with him. "Are you alright? How did the Keep's defense went?"

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"I'm fine," Ari says shakily. "Wasn't paying attention."

"Don't distract him now," Adria snaps.

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Well, that doesn't sound like anyone they know died.

Still, Thomas wants to check. Are his brothers okay?

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Like the brother who can take twenty in spot checks and is hard to get caught off guard?

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Or the one that is just attentive and can get out of reach?

They are fine.

They hug.

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Meanwhile...

Adria finds Henry.

"Henry. We must speak."

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"Oh? Of course."

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She leads him into a storage room off the armory and closes the door. A candle flickers in the corner, casting shadows over her face.

"You know, do you not, that my Ari is the son of Diablo?"

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Slow nod. Like he knows this is not a good thing. "We figured out through magic and he connected the dots."

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"His conception was not by choice. I did not wish to bear him, and I knew a thousand ways to still a child's breath in the womb. Do you want to know why he was born?" She doesn't wait for a response. "Because he holds within him a fraction of the Lord of Terror's power. And that power flows both ways. I knew, even twenty years ago, of the Black Soulstone and its power. I knew that if I was to destroy it, I would need some way to get in. Ari is the key that fits the lock that is Diablo."

She sighs, looking suddenly weary. "But all things come at a price. I soon realized that if I wished to destroy the Seven Evils for all eternity, then Ari must die as well."

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