“First we crack the shell, then we crack the nuts inside!”
-Rumble, Decepticon (who unfortunately does not appear in this adventure.)
Bruce Banner continued having a seizure. Manriki realized that they needed to get him away from innocents (with a “T,” not a “CE”) for when the “green demon” emerged. A few spells and a purloined mattress later, and the four of them were rushing out of the Motel 6, towards a clearing that Aria had spied off the road.
After some insistence from the players, the DM grudgingly provided an NPC to react to the sight of a 7-foot fat man in a diaper stealing a mattress. Aria and he had a minor argument, which resulted in the little man muttering something about “calling da cops, mang,” pulling out what looked like a metallic clam and poking it, then speaking into it in his strange, heavily-accented dialect of Halfling.
Manriki and Dogar continued to examine Banner, and Manriki tried to use his Taint Exorcist powers to drive the green demon out of the helpless scientist- Banner’s blood seemed to be at war with itself, pulsing the wrong way.
The exorcism worked, and Banner spewed up an immense amount of greenish blood, which congealed and turned into a manlike shape, eventually resolving itself into the form of the Incredible Hulk which the party had fought the day before. The monster looked around and spying Aria, who was making her way from across the clearing some 300 feet away, roared:
Dogar tried to trip the monster before he could attack Aria, but he was too strong. In three great leaps, the Hulk landed on the ground in front of her, the shockwave of his landing creating a small crater and throwing the girl off of her feet with serious injury. The Hulk bellowed at her in incoherent rage as Manriki and Dogar sprinted after him.
Manriki channeled his life force into Aria as Dogar began looking for weak spots on the massive green monster. He couldn’t bring it down, but did some damage. The Hulk grabbed Aria, and she tried to kiss him, seeking to soothe the savage beast, but he instead threw her at Manriki, how caught her and absorbed the blow. Within moments, the Hulk was on top of the two of them…
And Dogar was there too, a whirling blur of motion as he reconnected with his Eternal Loose Cannon. He managed to annoy the Hulk so that its attention was on him, then Manriki started to cast a spell.
The Hulk slammed his hog-sized fist into Manriki’s face, breaking his concentration. Aria stood up and asked the Hulk to “please stop.”
The Hulk kicked her in the chest, sending her flying a hundred and fifty feet, where she bounced to a stop. He then picked up Dogar and threw him, but Dogar managed to land on his feet. As an encore, The Hulk grabbed about a foot of topsoil and whipped it like a carpet, sending a rippling wave through the ground, burying Aria and causing her body to turn to golden sand and evaporate. Dogar evaded the tsunami of earth, and rejoined the fray.
Manriki spoke a holy word, paralyzing the Hulk.
From the spot where Aria fell, a woman-shaped negative space appeared, and resolved into a shapely half-elf carrying an infernal-looking sword. She strolled over to Dogar and whispered “flank with me” as he sized up the massive green monster, looking for the best place to strike. Manriki detected evil and found some. He continued to concentrate.
Dogar struck home, but not hard enough. The newcomer struck, her blade was actually made of coruscating flame and sank through the Hulk’s tough hide straight to his heart, killing him. The field of Jersey began to evaporate around them, and the party found themselves in another Hall of Heroes.
They traveled through the hallway, Manriki seemed concerned about Aria’s apparent disappearance and the new girl’s (whose name was Raza) “deception.” They came to the end of the hall, where they were met by a tall, careworn humanoid in soft yellow and white robes. This being identified himself as Nalamos, and addressed the party as “Eternals.” a very brief Q&A followed, its shortness compounded by the fact that Aria’s disappearance meant that the list of questions that they had amassed in the Library was gone with her, and Nalamos’ discomfiture around Raza. The main result of this was that the party decided they should talk to Time- Then, Now and Soon, for thier primary concern was with the temporal quandaries that have been plaguing them for a very long time now.
So, with that, they turned and started to leave the Hall of Eternals.