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LINK 30: (AZEN) BALEFUL
Through the Hell portal, came a pair of hands several times the size of a human's. They pulled at the edges of reality, breaking away further shards, and making the hole wider.
"Everyone, we need to find another way out!" I said.
"You know there IS no other way!" Jacob said. "Whatever this thing is, we have to go through it!"
"Or past it!" Vale cried as she sprinted to the side of the portal.
"Wait!" I shouted, but she'd already made a mistake.
As soon as she came within inches of the portal, she poofed into a plume of smoke.
"VALE!" Jacob and Fletch cried.
Jacob grabbed my arm and shook me. "What just happened to her? Tell me what just what happened to her!"
I shook my head, "I don't know. They just told me to stay away from portals!"
"Who are they?" Julie asked. "How do you know all of this?"
"The Zolomons," I said.
She scrunched up her face. "My manager's last name is--"
An enormous explosion of burning air blasted out of the portal, sending us all flying back. We hit the floor in a heap of arms and legs. My sword still laid where I'd been standing a moment before. I untangled myself and scrambled for the blade, but through the portal stepped a massive humanoid form.
My jaw fell open as I stared at the dark-skinned devil. Horns jutted from the backs of its elbows, legs, and shoulders, while two pairs sat on top of its bearded, frog-shaped head. Every muscle on its body seemed to expand as it breathed in deep and looked around.
I didn't know the rank of this evil creature, be it demon, devil, or archdevil, but I knew I had to strike before it came to coherency. Charging forward, I snatched my sword from the floor and ran at the monster. It regarded me just as I reached it. I brought back the sword in an overhead chop, and my blade never connected. A thick black tongue wrapped shot out and wrapped around my arms. They squeezed so tight, my hands opened, and the sword clattered to the floor.
"Shit," I muttered as the demon stared me in the eyes.
"Did YOU summon me here?" It croaked as glass shattered down the hall.
"Yeah, I summoned you to go back to where you came from!" I tried my best to bluff, but I rolled a one on the die.
It laughed an awful, scraping sound. "Even if that were true, I'd have to eat you anyway."
"Nah, man!" I said. "Bad idea! I taste like week-old rot. Just let me down, and my friends and I will be on our way."
It leaned forward, puttings his great nose holes to me. Suffering through a few long sniffs, I knew my time had come. There would be no tricking this monster.
Out of nowhere one of its bulbous eyes exploded in a spray of gore. An arrow now stuck out of its face. The monster's tongue retracted and dropped me. I landed, but bounced back to my feet, once again grabbing my blade.
I glanced back for a moment to see Cassie standing firm, a bow in her hand and an arrow nocked with the other.
"Get him!" Cassie cried.
I didn't question where she's gotten the weapon. Instead, I chopped the sword into its side. The blade sank not even an inch deep. Its skin proved so tough I'd done almost zero damage.
The monster grabbed the arrow and yanked it out with a great roar of pain. Black blood dripped down its face, and it narrowed its other eye at me.
I tried to pull my sword back, but it stuck in the demon's skin. The force of a boulder struck me head-on and launched me from my feet. Slamming down hard, I bounced and rolled right into lockers, denting them.
"Oh damn," I muttered. "Anyone get the license plate number of that truck?"
Jacob grabbed my arm and pulled me to my feet. Cassie still stood before our fragile group with a quiver on her back. She held her pose, aiming at our foe.
"Cassie, bet back!" I said. "We're not strong enough to kill this thing!"
She shook her head. "My first attack did just fine."
The monster looked at my girl and shook its head. "I will enjoy devouring your very soul, girl."
"Devour this!" she said and launched another missile.
The demon's tongue lashed out and smacked the arrow from midair. She responded by launching another arrow so quickly; I barely saw her movement. It knocked that arrow out of the air as well.
Cassie took a few steps back. "Guys, do you have any other ideas? This isn't working after all!"
"We run!" Julie said.